Meniscus Injury, Arthroscopy

ExitCare ImageArthroscopy is a surgical procedure that involves the use of a small scope that has a camera and surgical instruments on the end (arthroscope). An arthroscope can be used to repair your meniscus injury.

LET YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER KNOW ABOUT:

  • Any allergies you have.

  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eyedrops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.

  • Any recent colds or infections you have had or currently have.

  • Previous problems you or members of your family have had with the use of anesthetics.

  • Any blood disorders or blood clotting problems you have.

  • Previous surgeries you have had.

  • Medical conditions you have.

RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS

Generally, this is a safe procedure. However, as with any procedure, complications can occur. Possible complications include:

  • Damage to nerves or blood vessels.

  • Excess bleeding.

  • Blood clots.

  • Infection.

BEFORE THE PROCEDURE

  • Do not eat or drink for 6–8 hours before the procedure.

  • Take medicines as directed by your surgeon. Ask your surgeon about changing or stopping your regular medicines.

  • You may have lab tests the morning of surgery.

PROCEDURE

ExitCare ImageYou will be given one of the following:

  • A medicine that numbs the area (local anesthesia).

  • A medicine that makes you go to sleep (general anesthesia).

  • A medicine injected into your spine that numbs your body below the waist (spinal anesthesia).

Most often, several small cuts (incisions) are made in the knee. The arthroscope and instruments go into the incisions to repair the damage. The torn portion of the meniscus are removed.

ExitCare ImageDuring this time, your surgeon may find a partial or complete tear in a cruciate ligament, such as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). A completely torn cruciate ligament is reconstructed by taking tissue from another part of the body (grafting) and placing it into the injured area. This requires several larger incisions to complete the repair. Sometimes, open surgery is needed for collateral ligament injuries. If a collateral ligament is found to be injured, your surgeon may staple or suture the tear through a slightly larger incision on the side of the knee.

AFTER THE PROCEDURE

You will be taken to the recovery area where your progress will be monitored. When you are awake, stable, and taking fluids without complications, you will be allowed to go home. This is usually the same day. However, more extensive repairs of a ligament may require an overnight stay.

The recovery time after repairing your meniscus or ligament depends on the amount of damage to these structures. It also depends on whether or not reconstructive knee surgery was needed.

  • A torn or stretched ligament (ligament sprain) may take 6–8 weeks to heal. It takes about the same amount of time if your surgeon removed a torn meniscus.

  • A repaired meniscus may require 6–12 weeks of recovery time.

  • A torn ligament needing reconstructive surgery may take 6–12 months to heal fully.