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Knee Arthroscopy

Top Knee Surgeons in Orange County

What is Knee Arthroscopy?

Your knees are one of the most complex and largest body joints. Arthroscopic knee surgery, also called knee scoping, is a minimally invasive surgical technique designed to diagnose and treat problems in the knee joint via a tiny camera, called an arthroscope, inserted through a small incision into the knee joint. This camera displays images on a video monitor in the operating room so your knee surgeon can guide tiny surgical instruments in the joint to correct your knee problem. Knee surgery may be necessary to reduce or eliminate the pain associated with damage to the soft tissues of the joint.

What Does Knee Arthroscopy Treat?

Not all conditions that cause knee pain can be effectively treated with knee arthroscopy. However, your knee surgeon may recommend knee arthroscopy if you have knee pain that is not responding to nonsurgical treatment.

Knee arthroscopy is used to diagnose and treat several knee problems that damage the cartilage surfaces and other soft tissues surrounding the knee joint.

Commons conditions treated by knee arthroscopy include:

  • Torn meniscus
  • Torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament)
  • Torn PCL (posterior cruciate ligament)
  • Baker’s cyst
  • Inflamed or swollen synovium (lining of the knee joint)
  • Knee fracture
  • Damaged articular cartilage / cartilage transfer
  • Loose fragments of bone or cartilage
  • Patella (kneecap) problems
  • Knee sepsis / knee injections

Performing Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Knee arthroscopy is typically performed in an outpatient surgery center. Prior to surgery, your anesthesiologist and knee surgeon will determine the best anesthesia to use for your procedure; local (numbing the knee only), regional (numbing from the waist down) or general anesthesia (putting the patient to sleep) and that will be administered to you before surgery.

A sterile saline solution is injected into the joint to inflate the knee area so your orthopedic surgeon can visualize the knee with greater detail. The doctor will make "portals" in your knee through 2 or 3 small incisions to gain access to the knee joint. The portals are placed in specific locations to minimize the potential for injury to surrounding nerves, blood vessels, and tendons. Through one portal, the camera (arthroscope) is placed into the joint, and through the others, tiny surgical instruments used for tasks like shaving, cutting, grasping, suture passing and knot tying. Your knee surgeon’s first step of surgery is to make a proper diagnosis. Your doctor will then insert the arthroscope and use the real-time images projected on the screen in the operating room to guide the camera. If surgical treatment is needed, your surgeon will use the tiny instruments passed through one of the portals. In many cases, special devices are used to anchor stitches into the bone. Usually, knee arthroscopy takes less than an hour, but it depends upon your surgeon’s findings and what treatments are necessary.

Recovery from Surgery

In addition to pain medicine, your surgeon may also recommend medication such as aspirin to lessen the risk of blood clots. Your doctor will advise you to keep your leg elevated as often as possible for at least the first few days following surgery. Icing the knee can relieve pain and swelling. After a few days, you will see your surgeon to check your healing progress, review any surgical findings, and prescribe a rehabilitation/treatment program that may include physical therapy. It’s important to exercise the knee regularly for several weeks following your knee arthroscopy to help restore range of motion and to strengthen leg and knee muscles.


Many people return to full, unrestricted activities after knee arthroscopy. Your recovery will depend on the type of damage that was present in your knee. Unless you have had a ligament reconstruction, full return to most physical activities is possible after 6 to 8 weeks. However, make sure you get clearance from your orthopedic knee surgeon before going back to your regular activities. For instance, if your job involves demanding physical labor, you may need to take extra time to heal.

Trust the Knee Surgeons at Newport Orthopedic Institute

Our board-certified, fellowship-trained Orange County knee surgeons are experts at performing knee arthroscopy for a wide range of knee injuries and conditions.

To learn more about knee arthroscopy in Orange County,
Call Newport Orthopedic Institute at (949) 722-7038.

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