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Understanding the Basics Behind Knee Arthroscopy
What is Knee Arthroscopy?
Whether you’re playing your favorite sport, actively exercising, or just walking in the grocery aisle, an acute knee injury can happen to anyone. More chronic knee issues can occur with years of repeated motions or physical activity.
Knee problems vary in severity, but they can greatly impact your ability to function, live a normal life, or participate in the activities and hobbies you enjoy.
A knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows surgeons to see inside the joint. A small tube with a camera is inserted through a minor incision, allowing the surgeon to make a more definitive diagnosis, and eliminating the need for a large surgical incision. Arthroscopy can be used to diagnose issues by allowing the surgeon to view the actual tissue. Arthroscopy is also the most common method used to treat many orthopedic conditions in the knee.
Common injuries that may require a knee arthroscopy include:
Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance Knee Arthroscopy Assessment
Assessing the Injury
Determining the proper treatment process for knee and leg injuries starts with an assessment from one of experienced providers.
You can think of knee and leg pain as a spectrum, with some instances being more severe than others. The KCOA orthopedic specialists always focus on each patient and their concerns before creating a treatment plan.
Therefore, during your initial appointment, we will often ask questions such as:
From there, we can decide what treatment option will align best with your needs and lifestyle goals. Once we’ve completed a proper assessment, your provider will often begin with a physical examination to help determine the origin point of your pain. In some cases, advanced testing may be required for a full diagnosis.
Also called radiographs, an X-ray captures a picture of the foot or ankle. Orthopedic physicians may order an X-ray to rule out the possibility of a fracture (broken bone), osteoarthritis, or other bone-related conditions.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI captures images of muscles, bones, intervertebral discs, and tendons to help provide information other tests can’t detail. During an MRI, you will lie on a table that slides into a tube-shaped scanner. The machine creates a magnetic field around you, using pulsed radio waves to form the MRI images.
Establishing a Care Plan
Based on the results of your interview, examination, and imaging studies, you can expect a custom care plan catered specifically to you.
Many people believe it’s best to wait until pain becomes severe, leading them to “put off” or delay treatments like knee arthroscopy. If you are in constant discomfort, have shooting or stabbing pains, have limited range of motion, or an inability to perform your daily activities, a treatment like knee arthroscopy may be right for you. New technologies allow patients with severe foot and ankle pain to fully recover and enjoy the benefits of a more functional, pain-free lifestyle.
Prior to surgery, you will typically receive at least 2 phone calls:
Dependent on your health history, your physician may require:
Pre-operative instructions will vary depending on your physician and the location of your surgery. Always check with your physician before surgery for specific instructions.
Most physicians require that patients not eat or drink after midnight prior to surgery. Additionally, you will need to designate a family member or friend to drive you home on the day you are released from the hospital. Surgical patients cannot drive themselves home.
Day of Surgery
If you schedule your surgery with a KCOA physician, you can expect the following on surgery day:
How it Works
During a knee arthroscopy in Kansas City, you will remain under general anesthesia. The surgeon fills the knee joint with fluid and makes several small incisions around the knee, so they can insert a tiny camera (arthroscope) into the joint, giving them a clear guide for the surgical instruments. Saline fluid flows through the arthroscope to keep the image clear and your bleeding minimal. This is different from an open surgery, which requires a larger incision and often longer recovery times.
After assessing the injury and condition, your surgeon will begin the repair. Knee arthroscopy gives access to many repair options, such as removing inflamed tissue or loose bone fragments and cartilage, releasing scar tissue that is blocking motion, and treating fractures and breaks.
A patient’s recovery plan and timeline will vary based on a variety of factors, including the procedure that was performed, age, activity level, goals, and more. However, taking care of your body is essential to ensure optimal results from your knee arthroscopy. In the immediate aftermath of your surgery, it’s important to keep your foot elevated to reduce swelling in the knee. Your care team may prescribe medications to assist with pain and soreness..
For many patients undergoing a knee arthroscopy there will be a period of time where you’ll be instructed to keep weight off of or limit the weight you put through your surgically repaired leg. During this time, we may provide you with crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair. After surgery, you can expect swelling, soreness and bruising around the knee. This is normal. If stitches or staples were required, they are often removed 10-14 days after the surgery.
What to Expect
Your provider team will provide you customized instructions on how to progress your recovery. Physical therapy may be ordered to help guide you through structured exercises and stretches to help you achieve the best outcome. Timelines for recovery vary dramatically from a few weeks to months, based on the procedure performed.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Knee & Leg Injuries
With so many different parts working together in your knees, there are many potential causes of pain. And each of those causes has a unique set of symptoms.
There are a variety of knee problems that one can face, including joint sprains or strains, fractures, torn ligaments, and more. When they occur, the providers at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance are adept at finding the necessary treatments to correct the issue. Our expert orthopedic knee physicians at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance have the knowledge required to treat numerous issues, surgically and non-surgically. When you visit a specialist at KCOA, we focus on creating a treatment plan based on your specific conditions, symptoms, and recovery goals.
Causes of Knee Pain
The body has different kinds of joints, and they all face different challenges.
The severity of your knee and leg pain can vary based on a number of factors, including the location and the source of the issue. Because of the mobility in the knee, it can be susceptible to injuries that occur acutely or more chronic conditions that build up over the years. Soft tissue made up of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels protects these joints and bones.
Both acute and chronic injuries can be corrected by the experts at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance. When you visit us we’ll take the time to determine the cause of your pain and determine whether a treatment like knee arthroscopy is best for you.
In most cases, surgery is not the first option for treatment at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance. If we can treat your knee issues with more conservative treatments, we’ll choose those options. We typically exhaust all non-surgical options prior to recommending surgery. Non-surgical treatments for the knee and include:
A trained therapist will focus on the issue that’s causing the pain or symptoms as well as the deficits that are present as a result of the injury. Stretches, strengthening exercises, manual soft tissue work and modalities like hot and cold therapy may be used to help you recover.
Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil) or prescription medications. Especially with NSAIDs, you should always talk to your doctor to ensure they are the right treatment for you.
Cortisone injections can help reduce inflammation, and the effects tend to last for 3 to 6 months before you might need another one. Many people manage their pain with injections and physical therapy.
Regenerative medicines like stem cell injections or platelet-rich plasma can help nourish worn or damaged tissue. This option works best if you have mild-to-moderate knee pain.
Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance is here to help.
Our care is personal. Our team is knowledgeable. And we’re more available than ever.
With access to board-certified specialists across Kansas City, we have the tools to meet almost every musculoskeletal condition.
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This place is amazing! I cannot say enough good things about our experience here! From the reception desk where they were beyond helpful and even made phone calls for me to my kids pediatrician to very short wait time then the patience and help of doctors and staff that were great with my 3 year old! Getting same day service this great was so nice! Love this place and highly recommend!!
I am impressed!
6 weeks post op and Dr. Brown says I’m progressing well. She’s very knowledgeable, and is very quick to answer any questions I have. She’s also very personable, we laughed a lot during my last appointment. Looking forward to seeing her again.
Some of the best doctors
I have been going to the doctors here for many things and for many years. They have some of the best doctors and surgeons around and when you need something repaired one of the doctors there who’s speciality it is will have your x-rays and MRIs scheduled and the hospital setup in only a few days. They explain everything you should know and so you can understand it and best of all you don’t have to wait a week to a month for an appointment.
Stephanie took great care in explaining my son’s injury and future implications. I feel like we fully understood the injury and what he needed to do to allow it to heal. I would definitely recommend Stephanie!