A specialist like James M. Lee, Jr, MD, in Orange, New Jersey, offers cutting-edge diagnostic and surgical procedures like knee arthroscopy. With arthroscopy, patients have small incisions, so there’s less pain, bleeding and scarring. This technique allows Dr. Lee to get a clear view of the knee joint, make an accurate diagnosis, and perform repairs -- all in one session.
Knee arthroscopy is a high-tech procedure that allows Dr. Lee to see the knee joint before making surgical repairs. The knee is a complex mechanism that consists of:
Combined, they create a joint that is capable of both flexion and extension along with slight rotation in both directions. This is critical when you consider all of the things your leg can do. It bends when you sit, for example -- and even something as common as taking a step requires both flexion and extension. Factor in exercise and the various sports people partake in and it’s clear why joint flexibility and knee health are so important.
The ability to view the joint is critical for a complete diagnosis in many cases because pain alone is not enough given the complexity of this joint. It's difficult to determine if an ACL injury means the tear is partial or complete, for instance, and if there is any other damage.
With knee arthroscopy, Dr. Lee makes several small incisions near the knee. He will insert an arthroscope into one. This is a tube-like instrument with a camera on the tip of it. With the tool in place, Dr. Lee can view the joint on a screen to see the extent of the damage. Using thin surgical instruments, Dr. Lee makes the repairs as needed and then closes the incisions.
Dr. Lee will decide if he is able to repair the joint this way after the exam, but some common arthroscopic procedures include:
That depends on many factors including:
Most arthroscopic procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, so patients go home the same day. You can expect to spend some time using crutches and at least a few weeks in rehabilitation doing physical therapy. Dr. Lee will warn against driving for up to three weeks, as well.