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When is it time to think about knee arthroscopy surgery?

You may need knee arthroscopy surgery if you are experiencing knee pain, limited motion, or instability of your knee. These symptoms may be caused by ligament or cartilage tears inside the knee resulting from injury or wear-and-tear on the joint. You may also be experiencing knee joint pain, clicking, snapping, swelling, or decreased motion in your knee.

Knee Arthroscopy Surgery


About the Surgery

Knee arthroscopy surgery involves the doctor making a few small incisions around the knee after using general anesthesia to put you to sleep. The doctor can see the inner tissues of the knee on a television monitor. Many problems can be diagnosed and corrected once the arthroscope is in place.

This procedure will take approximately a half hour for the doctor to perform. You will wake up in recovery with a bulky knee wrap and an IV. Once you are awake and taking fluids, the IV will be removed and you will be allowed to go home. You will be weight bearing as tolerated and may use crutches/walker intially for support.

Preparing for Surgery

Lab work and EKG may be scheduled prior to surgery.

Anti-inflammatory medications, aspirin, and blood-thinning medications should be discontinued one week before your surgery. These medications affect your blood clotting factors and could increase your risk for bleeding.

What to Expect After Surgery

You may walk on the knee when you are comfortable, and you should expect your knee to be swollen and weak when you first walk on it. You may also begin to bend the knee as tolerated. You should be comfortable and may be off your walking aide unless otherwise instructed by your doctor within 3 days. The bulky dressing on your knee will be removed the morning after surgery and should not be replaced.

Recovery Period

The average recovery period for knee arthroscopy surgery is about 2-3 weeks depending on the specific type of procedure you’ve had done. Most patients are back to work within a few days if their job is sedentary, and 3 weeks if they have a labor-intensive job. Activities like walking and biking are encouraged to promote knee strength and overall fitness.

You are expected to do the exercises provided in this pamphlet. Physical therapy may be ordered if you lack normal range of motion in your knee.

Patient Education Sheets

For additional information about this procedure, including post-op instructions and exercises, we have included this complete patient eduction sheet as a pdf to view, download and print:

Knee Specialists