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Knee Arthroscopy in Singapore: Benefits, Risks & Recovery

What is Knee Arthroscopy?

An arthroscope is a very thin and flexible scope made out of fibre optics. It has a tiny camera, a light, and very small instruments for delicate surgical procedures. Surgeons use an arthroscope for making diagnoses and repairs—it can be used for removing pieces of damaged cartilage, reconstructing ligaments, cleaning (debridement), and for removing the lining of a joint (synovectomy).

A/Professor Andrew Dutton Knee Arthroscopy Illustration

During Knee Arthroscopy, an arthroscope can be used to identify what’s causing a person’s Knee Pain as well as carry out Ligament Reconstruction and other procedures. It can also be used to treat kneecap problems and infections in the knee.

A/Professor Andrew Quoc Dutton is a Harvard fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon subspecialising in arthroscopic or keyhole surgery. For suitable candidates, treatments can be minimally invasive. We hope to help you with your concern through our customised treatment plans. Book a consultation today at our clinic at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore.

Knee Arthroscopy is usually a preferred treatment when non-surgical options don’t work because only small incisions are needed instead of the large ones made during open surgery. This means that the patient will experience less pain and stiffness, and an earlier recovery, allowing them to get back to their regular, everyday activities sooner.

Over the years, there has been a growing confidence on knee arthroscopy as a surgical procedure for certain knee problems. For those who are unfamiliar with this minimally invasive treatment, it is a surgical technique that allows doctors to view the knee joint without making a large incision (cut) through the skin and other soft tissues. This is why it is also called a keyhole surgery.

Without causing significant trauma, these keyhole surgeries can help visualise, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint. However, as reliance build, certain concerns are coming out of the woodwork. A recent Dutch study revealed that there are no valid indication in the medical records for a third of the knee arthroscopies done.

A/Professor Andrew Dutton shares his thoughts on the matter on CNA938’s Health Matters with Daniel Martin. Listen in on the practical and medical-based perspective from an orthopaedic surgeon’s point of view.

Frequently Asked Questions on Knee Arthroscopy

Singapore Knee

People suffering from torn ligaments or cartilage, a Meniscus Tear, swelling in the synovium or joint lining, cyst removal, and fractures may be able to benefit, as these are knee problems that may be identified and addressed via knee arthroscopy.

The surgeon may advise you to have a knee arthroscopy procedure if you experience chronic pain in your knees that won’t go away after resting, physical therapy and other non-surgical treatments such as medications or injections have failed.

Knee arthroscopy is actually a fascinating procedure, and if you want to watch it, you can have local anaesthesia which means you’ll be awake but won’t feel anything in your knee. You also have a choice of a regional anaesthesia which prevents you from feeling anything from the waist down, or a general anaesthesia which will make you sleep.

Your leg will be covered but the knee on which the arthroscopy will be done will be exposed, and the skin on that knee will be cleaned to help avoid infection. A device might also be placed on your leg to help keep it stable during the procedure.

If you do watch the procedure, keep your eyes on the monitor which will show you the insides of your knee as seen by the arthroscope. The procedure proper begins when a few small incisions are made in the knee, and a saline solution (sterilised salt water) is pumped through one of them until the knee expands, making it easier for the surgeon to see.

The surgeon will then insert the arthroscope through one of the incisions, and the images it captures will show up on the monitor. Once the surgeon pinpoints the problem, tiny instruments may be inserted through the other small incisions to address it.

After the necessary repairs are made, the saline solution will be drained out of the knee, the incisions will be closed, and the knee will be bandaged. How long the procedure takes depends on the exact treatment being done, but most knee arthroscopy procedures last for less than an hour.

Though the risks of knee arthroscopy are limited, there are still risks involved. The knee may become stiff or infected on the inside, and damage might be done to the ligaments, meniscus, cartilage or nerves. The knee’s blood vessels may likewise be damaged and blood clots or bleeding inside the knee might occur.

As a form of surgery, knee arthroscopy comes with all the risks associated with surgery including difficulty breathing due to anaesthesia or allergies to anaesthesia or other medications used during the procedure. There is also the possibility of excessive bleeding and infection at the surgical site.

Singapore Knee

You will need to have a physical examination to allow the surgeon to evaluate your overall health before you have a knee arthroscopy procedure. This is when any medical conditions you may have that might affect the outcome of the procedure will be determined. You might also have to have an ECG or blood tests done.

The surgeon will discuss the preparations for the procedure with you, during which you should tell him about any medications or supplements you’re taking. Certain medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin may have to be discontinued some time before the knee arthroscopy is done. You may also want to prepare the medications you’ll have to take after the procedure ahead of time.

Be sure not to eat or drink anything for six to 12 hours before your knee arthroscopy.

Most people who undergo knee arthroscopy can go home on the same day they have it done. To help reduce pain and swelling after the procedure, the knee should be dressed and have an ice pack placed on it for one or two days. The leg should be elevated for a few days, the wounds kept clean and dry, and the dressing changed as often as recommended.

Be sure to follow the surgeon’s instructions regarding dressing the wound, bathing, and taking medications, which are usually prescribed for pain. Don’t miss the follow-up appointment with the surgeon which is usually scheduled a few days afterwards, and let him know if the pain from your procedure hasn’t lessened or gone away.

To help your knee recover, exercises will be given you to do at home either by the surgeon or a physical therapist. These exercises will help strengthen your muscles and regain your full range of motion until you can use your knee as usual again. You will probably have to use crutches after the procedure, and wait for the surgeon to tell you when you can put weight on your knee and leg.

Keep up your regular exercises for several weeks, the number of which depends on the specific procedure you had done. It may take six to eight weeks for you to return to your usual activities, but if you had Ligament Reconstruction done, it could take longer, especially if you have to do physically demanding tasks. You might also have to avoid high-impact exercise for some time.

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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