Knee pain is a common symptom for American women and men, and data show it’s actually on the rise. While some knee symptoms can be treated conservatively, there are some problems that require a surgical solution to restore normal, pain-free joint function.
At Orange Orthopaedic Associates, board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon James M. Lee Jr., MD, uses knee arthroscopy for an array of common and complex knee issues, including knee problems that are more common with age.
If you have a knee injury, here’s what you should know about the benefits of arthroscopic knee surgery.
There was a time when knee surgery meant using a large incision to expose the entire joint. But arthroscopy changed all that, and today, many knee procedures use a minimally invasive approach with two to three very small incisions.
An arthroscope is a long, flexible instrument that’s designed to perform an array of treatments and diagnostic procedures involving joints. At the end of the scope is a tiny camera that takes still images and captures video in real time.
These images are transmitted to a monitor, and Dr. Lee refers to that monitor while he uses the scope to examine the joint and perform repairs.
Arthroscopy can address an array of knee problems, including:
- ACL tears and other ligament problems
- Knee arthritis
- Torn meniscus
- Damaged cartilage
- Bone fragments
- Inflammation and infection
Dr. Lee also uses arthroscopy to diagnose the source of knee pain and other symptoms, so he can tailor your treatment specifically to your needs and goals. In fact, he can render a diagnosis and repair many issues in a single procedure.
Benefits of arthroscopy
Dr. Lee almost always performs arthroscopic surgery on an outpatient basis, which means you can heal and recover in your own home. That’s just one benefit. Here are five others.
This is perhaps the most obvious benefit: Smaller incisions mean smaller, less noticeable scars. That’s a cosmetic benefit, but less scar tissue also means less stiffness as your knee heals.
Less tissue damage
Not surprisingly, larger incisions mean more tissue damage — not just to your skin, but to underlying tissues, too. Arthroscopy incisions are substantially smaller, meaning less tissue damage and less bleeding.
Less postoperative discomfort
It’s normal to have some discomfort after knee surgery. But with open surgery, additional tissue damage associated with a larger incision also means you can expect more swelling, stiffness, and pain after your procedure.
Faster healing and recovery
Less tissue damage also means your body can heal faster, focusing more of its energy and resources on the healing process. You’ll also be able to move around more quickly, playing a more active role in rehab therapy for a faster return to your regular activities.
Reduced risk of infection
While infections are rare in any type of surgery, those that do occur tend to happen when the surgical site is exposed to germs, typically as a result of the incision. Since arthroscopy uses incisions that are very small, the risk of infection is substantially less than with a large incision used in open surgery.
Despite these benefits, arthroscopy isn’t always the best choice for every patient. Because Dr. Lee is skilled in both arthroscopy and open surgical techniques, you can feel confident that he’ll recommend the best approach for you.
Enjoy healthier knees
Arthroscopic surgery is just one way Dr. Lee helps patients in West Orange and Bayonne, New Jersey, stay mobile, active, and healthy. To learn more about arthroscopy and other knee treatments, book an appointment online or over the phone at Orange Orthopaedic Associates today.