Knee arthroscopy

At Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre, we have a team of orthopaedic consultants and knee surgeons. They can perform a minimally invasive procedure called a knee arthroscopy to diagnose and treat problems with the knee joint.

What is a knee arthroscopy?

An arthroscopy is a type of keyhole surgery. If you have pain or other symptoms in the knee, your surgeon inserts a thin metal tube called an arthroscope into the knee joint. This tube has a light and camera at one end. Your surgeon can see inside the joint and diagnose any damage or medical conditions.

It may be possible to treat the problem in your knee joint at the same time using tiny surgical instruments. Our surgeons can carry out various procedures to improve your symptoms.

Why might I need a knee arthroscopy?

Your knee is a complex joint of the body. It is made up of three bones:

• The thighbone (the femur)
• The shinbone (the tibia)
• The kneecap (the patella)

The ends of these bones and the back of your kneecap are covered with a layer called cartilage. This layer cushions the bones and allows smooth movement.

On each side of your knee, you have a C-shaped pad of cartilage called the meniscus. This acts as a shock absorber between your thighbone and shinbone and helps to make the knee joint stable.

Four main bands of connective tissue called ligaments hold together the bones in your knee. The two collateral ligaments are on the sides of your knee. The two cruciate (cross-shaped) ligaments are inside your knee. They make an ‘X’ shape with the anterior cruciate ligament in front and the posterior cruciate ligament at the back.

You may need a knee arthroscopy to diagnose and treat problems with the cartilage, ligaments or other structures in the knee joint. For example, you may have a knee injury that has not healed or suffer from persistent pain, swelling or stiffness. We often carry out an MRI scan to help diagnose your problem before surgery.

A knee arthroscopy can be used to:

• assess the joint damage caused by an injury or a condition like arthritis
• remove or repair a torn meniscus
• reconstruct a torn anterior or posterior cruciate ligament
• trim any damaged cartilage
• remove loose material, such as small fragments of bone or cartilage
• remove inflamed joint lining caused by synovitis (when the lining of the knee joint swells)
• treat various conditions, including kneecap problems and a knee infection (sepsis)
• take small samples of tissue for testing (this is called a biopsy and can help to diagnose infections or other issues)

At Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre, we can also perform an arthroscopy to diagnose and treat children’s knee problems. We have a child-friendly waiting area for our younger patients. A specialist paediatric nurse gives extra support to the child and their family throughout the process.

Are there any alternatives to a knee arthroscopy?

Your consultant may be able to diagnose your condition by examining your knee and arranging an X-ray or MRI scan. However, a knee arthroscopy allows your surgeon to make an accurate diagnosis and treat a wide range of problems during the same procedure.

A knee arthroscopy may be recommended if you are still in pain after non-surgical treatment. This could include rest, physiotherapy and medicines or steroid injections to reduce inflammation. Your consultant explains why a knee arthroscopy may be suitable and whether there are any alternatives.

What are the benefits of having a knee arthroscopy?

A knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure. The surgeon can examine your knee joint and carry out precise repairs through small cuts in your skin. This modern procedure has several advantages over traditional ‘open’ surgery. The main benefits are:

• less pain, stiffness and scarring after your operation
• a faster recovery time
• a lower risk of infection or other complications

How can I prepare for having a knee arthroscopy?

Before you have a knee arthroscopy, we ask you to attend a pre-operative assessment clinic. A nurse assesses your general health and decides whether you are fit to have an anaesthetic. In some cases, you may need to have blood tests or an electrocardiogram (ECG) to check that your heart is healthy.

We give you clear information about how to prepare for the procedure. For example, we explain whether you can eat and drink or take your usual medicines in advance. We also discuss the benefits and risks of having a knee arthroscopy. This is a low-risk procedure, but you can raise any concerns and ask us questions.

What happens during a knee arthroscopy procedure?

A knee arthroscopy is a day surgery procedure and you do not usually need to stay in hospital overnight. At Parkside Private Hospital, we have a £2.7 million refurbished Day Unit. There are 12 private pods specially designed for patients having day surgery. We also have four modern operating theatres.

You normally have a general anaesthetic. This means that you are asleep during the procedure and do not feel any pain. The procedure often takes about 30 to 45 minutes, but that depends on what treatment you have.

Your surgeon makes small cuts around your knee. They fill your knee joint with a sterile liquid to make it bigger and easier to see. Your surgeon then inserts the long, thin tube with a light and camera called an arthroscope and other fine surgical instruments.

The camera sends pictures of the inside of your knee joint to a computer screen. Your surgeon can then diagnose the problem and carry out any treatment, such as removing or repairing damaged tissue or bone.

After the procedure, your surgeon drains any excess fluid from the knee joint. They then close the small cuts with special tape or stitches and put a bandage on your knee.

What happens after a knee arthroscopy procedure?

After having a knee arthroscopy, you recover in our modern and comfortable Day Unit. Our expert team look after you and give you any pain relief that you need.

When you have recovered from the anaesthetic, a physiotherapist helps you to start moving. You may need crutches or a walking frame for a temporary period.

Your physiotherapist explains how to use them and teaches you gentle exercises to strengthen your knee muscles.

You can usually go home on the same day. Before you leave the hospital, we give you practical advice on taking care of your knee. You need to keep your wounds clean and dry until they have healed. It is also important to elevate (raise) your leg as much as possible.

Our pharmacy gives you any painkillers or other medicines that your consultant has prescribed. We explain how to reduce the risk of blood clots. Some people may need medicines to help with this.

How long it takes to recover from a knee arthroscopy depends on the specific treatment that you had. We explain when it is safe to return to work or other activities. Most people recover well and have a good outcome. We arrange a follow-up appointment with your consultant to monitor your progress. Our nurses are available 24 hours a day to deal with any concerns or questions.

Book now

If you have knee pain and need an arthroscopy, Parkside Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Centre provides first-class independent healthcare.

We offer an all-inclusive price package for a knee arthroscopy starting from £3,090. Terms and conditions apply. For more information about prices, please call 020 3925 1062.

To make an appointment at Parkside Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Centre, please call 020 3944 0568 or complete this form online. Appointments are available six days a week.

Knee arthroscopy Consultants