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Arthroscopy is a common surgical procedure in which a joint (arthro-) is displayed (-scope) using a small camera giving a clear view of the inside of the knee. These technical advances have transformed arthroscopy as a tool, in a very effective way, to treat knee problems.

The benefits of knee arthroscopy are:

  • Quick recovery
  • Faster healing
  • Less scarring
  • The patient can be discharged the same day


These are the usual reasons why a knee arthroscopy is performed:

  • Meniscal injuries.
  • Anterior cruciate ligament.
  • Synovial membrane.
  • Misalignment: Patella out of position.
  • Cartilage ruptures
  • Knee bones fracture.


There are several diseases and abnormalities that can be treated with the help of arthroscopy:

  • Symptomatic patellar plica.
  • Meniscal repair.
  • Removing anomalous elements.
  • Patellar chondromalacia.
  • Ligament reconstruction.
  • Treatment for knee osteoarthritis.
  • Osteochondritis

The most common symptoms are:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Inflammation
  • Feeling like the knee locks

When the Anterior Cruciate Ligament , is injured, you may hear and feel a "pop”.
Other typical symptoms are:

  • Pain with inflammation.
  • The knee swells within 24 hours.
  • Complete range of movement loss.
  • Sensitivity along the joint line.
  • Walking discomfort.


Physical exam and patient’s history. During your first visit, your doctor will tell you about your symptoms and medical history. During the physical exam, your doctor will review all structures of the injured knee, and compare them with the healthy one. Most ligament injuries can be diagnosed with a complete physical examination of the knee.


Other tests that may help the doctor confirm the diagnosis include: X-rays. Although the injury is not displayed in his anterior cruciate ligament, X-rays show if it has a broken bone associated. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). This study recreate the soft tissues imaging, such as the anterior cruciate ligament.


If Dr. Vilchez indicates you a knee arthroscopy, it is essential to perform a complete physical examination. In healthy patients under 40 years old it is only necessary to perform some blood tests including a complete blood count and coagulation studies. In patients above 40 years old, it is necessary to perform preoperative tests including complete blood count, chemistry screen, electrolyte panel, liver function panel. Besides a chest X-ray and an electrocardiogram. Before performing the surgery, it is necessary that an internist perform a preoperative assessment, which determines that the patient is able for surgery.


To perform a knee arthroscopy, in most cases, there are made 2 incisions of 5 mm in the anterior face of the knee. The arthroscope, which is responsible for carrying the signal to a high density monitor, is introduced through an incision , the tip of the arthroscope’s lens is 4 m. On the other incision, the material needed to perform the surgery such as probes, tweezers, scissors, shaver and suction equipment is introduced.

To have a better visualization, the surgeon fills the knee with saline solution during surgery, it helps the tissues to defuse and arthroscopy to move freely.

According to the procedure to be performed, knee arthroscopy lasts between 45 minutes to an hour. When an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction is required, this can be up to 2 hours.
Arthroscopic knee surgery is used for:

  • Meniscal repairs
  • Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
  • Articular cartilage injuries
  • Removal of loose bodies
  • Cleaning the synovium

The wounds are normally closed with stitches below the skin, waterproof patches, that can be left on the wound until the next consult, are placed. If ambulatory surgery is necessary, we would need someone to translate the patient from the hospital to home because the patient is unable to drive a car; or it could be that the patient spends the night in the hospital and be discharged the next morning after surgery.


It is necessary to exercise regularly to recover strength and mobility of the knee. Most of those exercises can be practiced at home. Your orthopedists will recommend you to do between 20 and 30 minutes of exercise, 2 or 3 times a day and may, also recommend you to start a walking program. If pain or swelling of the knee due to a particular activity, you should decrease the intensity or stop the program to feel better. You must rest, ice, compress with an elastic bandage and raise your knee.