Knee Arthroscopy With Meniscus Surgery

This surgery uses small instruments and a camera to look inside the knee joint and treat a torn meniscus.

This surgery uses small instruments and a camera to look inside the knee joint and treat a torn meniscus.

A knee arthroscopy is a surgery that uses small medical instruments and a camera to look inside the knee joint to treat certain problems, such as a tear in the meniscus. The instruments are inserted into the knee joint through small incisions made in different areas of the knee.

  • The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage in the knee joint. It acts as a shock absorber for the bones of the knee.
  • A meniscus tear refers to a tear in this C-shaped piece of knee cartilage. These tears are typically caused by twisting or over-flexing the knee joint. Meniscal tears can also occur because of changes in the cartilage related to the aging process.
  • Depending on the type of injury to the meniscus, the meniscus may be repaired or removed during an arthroscopy of the knee. Many meniscal tears do not require surgery.

Some of the symptoms that may indicate an injury to the meniscus include a popping sound at the time of the injury; pain and/or swelling of the knee; or frequent catching or locking. Locking occurs when there is a temporary inability to move the knee joint.

If you injury your knee, you may be given some instructions to decrease your symptoms and prevent further injury to the knee joint. These may include:

  • Applying ice
  • Using over-the-counter medications
  • Not putting full weight on your leg
  • Using crutches or a knee immobilizer

Symptoms related to many meniscal tears resolve without surgery. The decision to perform surgery will take into consideration many factors such as a person's overall physical condition and general activity level.

Prior to surgery, tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over the counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before surgery. These may include:

  • Medications you should not take before the surgery, such as blood thinners
  • Regular medications you should take on the day of your procedure
  • How many hours you should stop eating and drinking before the procedure

If you are a smoker, you should quit smoking, as it can interfere with your recovery.

During your arthroscopy, you will receive anesthesia to keep you comfortable and pain free. Anesthesia may include one of the following:

  • Regional anesthesia, which is a technique that numbs your knee. You may also be given a relaxing medication given through an IV (a small needle placed in your vein). You will be awake during surgery.
  • Spinal anesthesia, which involves an injection of numbing medication into your back. You may also be given a relaxing medication through an IV (a small needle placed in your vein). You will be awake during surgery, but will not feel anything below your waist.
  • General anesthesia, which is a treatment that includes medicines to put you into a deep sleep. You are unable to see, hear, or feel anything.

You will probably go home the day of your surgery.

  • You may need to take pain medication, use crutches and do post-surgical exercises to help your knee regain normal strength and mobility.
  • You may also need help at home for a few days while you recover.
  • Do not forget to arrange for transportation to and from the facility.

What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a knee arthroscopy to repair the meniscus in my knee?

  • What is my diagnosis and reason for the surgery? Do I have arthritis in my knee?
  • Is non-surgical treatment an option? If so, what kind? How long should I try non-surgical treatment before revisiting the option of surgery?
  • What are the pros and cons of surgery?
  • Do I need to fast before the surgery? If so, for how long?
  • Is there any other special preparation for the surgery? (If so, get clear instructions on what you need to do.)
  • What kind of sedation will I have? What are the possible side effects?
  • What are the possible complications to the surgery?
  • How will I feel after the surgery? Will I have to modify my activity?
  • How long will it take me to recover?

After your surgery, you should know what you had done, what medication was given, and what symptoms you should report to your healthcare provider. You should also understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans.


Also known as:

Torn Meniscus
Torn Cartilage
Meniscus Tear
Meniscus Repair via Arthroscopy
Meniscus Repair
Knee Surgery
Knee Pain
Knee Meniscus
Knee Injury
Knee Arthroscopy With Meniscus Surgery
Knee Arthroscopy
Blown Knee
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