Arthroscopy of the knee joint

What is an arthroscopy of the knee joint?

Arthroscopy of the knee (knee joint endoscopy) is an advanced method of examination and treatment of the knee joint. It is a so-called “keyhole surgery” procedure, which is characterised by the fact that no large incisions need to be made. Through small openings, the surgeon can insert the approximately pencil-thick arthroscope (i.e. the joint camera) and other tools required for the operation.

This has several advantages, as the smaller wounds also significantly shorten the healing time. In addition, the duration of the procedure is significantly reduced. Arthroscopy is used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes: The joint can be examined from the inside and, if necessary, treated directly according to the findings.

Is arthroscopy performed as an outpatient or inpatient procedure?

Knee arthroscopy can be performed either as an inpatient procedure, i.e. with a permanent stay in hospital, or as an outpatient procedure, whereby the patient can be home hours after the procedure. Often, knee arthroscopy is performed as an outpatient procedure or as an inpatient in a clinic. If there is no care at home or if there are previous illnesses, the procedure is performed as an inpatient.

How long does an arthroscopy of the knee take?

The duration of the knee arthroscopy depends on the type of surgery, so the duration of the arthroscopy can vary considerably. An arthroscopy for diagnosis can be completed within 20 minutes. During this procedure, the various spaces and structures within the joint are searched for and inspected.

In many cases, smaller treatments of the joint mucous membranes or menisci follow. An experienced surgeon can complete this procedure within 20-30 minutes. Lengthy interventions on the joint cartilage, the menisci, the joint mucosa or the cruciate ligaments can delay the operation.

Cruciate ligament plastic surgery can also be performed as part of an arthroscopy. This can extend the procedure to 1 to 1.5 hours. The duration of the procedure is calculated from the first skin incision. The total duration of the treatment also includes the induction of anaesthesia, as well as immediate preparations for the operation, so that the overall treatment can take several hours. – of the performed treatment

  • The extent of damage to the knee
  • The experience of the surgeon
  • Possible accompanying therapies

Why is an MRI done before the arthroscopy?

Nowadays, an MRI of the knee joint should always be performed before an arthroscopy in order to confirm the indication for arthroscopy and to optimize operative planning. The MRI can therefore assess, without damaging the knee, which structures in the knee joint are damaged and whether surgical therapy can/must be performed at all. Nowadays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is often used to diagnose knee joint injuries, as it is a non-invasive procedure without exposing the patient to radiation or endangering the patient.