Arthroscopy or keyhole surgery for sports injuries knee (ACL and meniscal injuries)
What is Keyhole Surgery for Sports Injuries of the Knee?
Sports can help keep your cartilage healthy, but some sports increase your risk of joint injury. As in the case of athletes, using your joints repeatedly in this vigorous and active fashion can wear the joints out, including your knees.
The knee is particularly susceptible to injury because it’s the body’s biggest joint and it’s full of cartilage, ligaments, tendons and menisci that can all be damaged by the stress caused by sports. This is why taking precautions to protect your knees during sports, such as wearing knee guards and using the correct positions and techniques, is so important.
Athletes of all ages and skill levels can sustain sports injuries of the knee, with their risk increasing as they hit their late 20s, onward. Those who play the following sports in particular are especially prone:
- Martial Arts
- Motorsport (especially Motorcycling)
- Track & Field
During these sports, athletes might suffer Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL Injuries, or Meniscal Injuries, which means that the meniscus, which is a piece of cartilage in the knee, might have become torn. A study showed ACL injuries were common among football, basketball and volleyball players, and meniscal injuries were common among runners.
They may also suffer injuries to the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL), which might happen when the side of the knee gets hit during contact sports, and injuries to the Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL), which might happen during a bad fall.
Athletes who suffer sports injuries of the knee usually injure more than just one ligament or part of the knee at a time.
Aside from athletes, other people who might suffer from sports-related or similar injuries include ballet dancers, skaters, people who work out and those who participate in outdoor activities like rock-climbing or hiking.
A tiny camera about 5mm wide guides the surgeon during arthroscopy or keyhole surgery which is commonly done to treat sports injuries of the knees, instead of making the larger incision involved in open surgery. This procedure is done under anaesthesia and lasts for about one to two hours.
During keyhole surgery, fluid will be pumped into the knee to stretch it out and allow the surgeon to see the insides clearly. Some of the ways in which the procedure can be used is to reconstruct the ligament, particularly the ACL, by grafting a piece of tendon taken from the patient’s hamstring. A graft from the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap to the shinbone, may also be used.
People who undergo keyhole surgery for sports injury of the knee might experience stiffness, pain during kneeling or even a kneecap fracture sometime after the procedure.
Infection is a possibility during surgery, and confusion, drowsiness and nausea may also occur because of the anaesthesia used.
Be sure to tell the surgeon about all the medications and other health products you take, because some of them might affect the anaesthesia that’s going to be used, or increase the risk of bleeding. Especially let him know whether you are taking blood-thinning medications like aspirin or other anticoagulants and ask him which medications you should or shouldn’t take before the procedure.
Also make sure to follow all the instructions about eating and drinking, because this may cause your procedure to be delayed or rescheduled. Take a shower before surgery and don’t shave the knee or leg to be treated. After you shower, don’t use personal care products like deodorant, lotion, nail polish or cologne. If you wear contact lenses, be sure to take them off along with all your jewellery.
Tell the surgeon if you catch a cold or have a fever or flu before the procedure, and clarify anything you don’t understand regarding the preparations.
People who have keyhole surgery for sports injuries of the knee are often able to have it and go home on the same day. However, it usually takes about nine months to recover from this procedure, and recovery time may also vary according to the type of injury that was treated.
While it can be difficult to remain patient during this period, note that training or playing sports again too soon might cause problems, and end up extending the recovery period after all. This is why you must rest your knee and allow it to fully heal.
During this time, physical therapy can help condition and strengthen your knee and leg, and increase flexibility and your range of motion. It can also help build resistance to future injuries.
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right. Don’t just brush it off and risk the chance of compromising your movement and interupting your daily activities. Get it checked today for the right intervention the soonest possible time. Book your appointment with Dr. Dutton, here.
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