Knee scope - arthroscopic lateral retinacular release; Synovectomy; Patellar debridement
Expectations after surgery
Use of arthroscopy has reduced the need to surgically open the knee joint. This has resulted in less pain and stiffness, fewer complications, decreased length (if any) of hospitalization, and faster recovery time. Expectations vary widely with the indication for the surgery.
Surgery done for a meniscal tear or loose bodies when the patient has no other problems (like arthritis) is usually uncomplicated, and most patients can expect a full recovery. The presence of arthritis dramatically reduces the effectiveness of arthroscopy and up to 50% of patients may not improve post-operatively.
Arthroscopic removal of the synovium (arthroscopic synovectomy) can be of great benefit to patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Arthroscopic or arthroscopic-assisted surgery done to repair the meniscus or reconstruct ligaments in the knee is much more complicated with prolonged recovery and more variable results.
For a simple meniscal cleaning (debridement), recovery is usually quite rapid. The patient may need to use crutches for a while to reduce weight placed on the knee joint to control pain. Pain can be managed with medications.
For more complicated procedures where anything is fixed or reconstructed, patients may not be able to walk on the knee for several weeks, and the overall recovery may be anywhere from several months to a year.
Review Date: 05/31/2006
Reviewed By: Kevin B. Freedman, MD, MSCE, Sports Medicine, Orthopaedic Specialists, Bryn Mawr, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.