Knee Arthroscopy

This is done by inserting a camera into your knee by way of small incisions in the skin. This helps your surgeon in diagnosing problems including arthritis, ligament damage, and torn cartilage. Your surgeon can also treat some of these conditions during the same operation.

Is knee arthroscopy right for me?

If you have a torn cartilage, loose body or have damaged your joint surface. If you are having problems with your knee giving way and locking. If treatments such as physiotherapy and exercise have not helped then your surgeon may suggest knee arthroscopy to treat your symptoms.

Knee arthroscopy is a safe procedure that allows most patients to return to normal activities.

The Operation

Knee arthroscopy is normally performed as a day case. This means that you will be discharged the same day the procedure is performed.

About 2 to 3 small incisions are performed in the knee to insert the arthroscope into your knee joint. Saline (sterile salt water) is pumped into your knee to “wash out” any debris and to improve the visibility.

The camera (arthroscope) sends pictures to a video monitor. Your surgeon can see the knee structure in amazing detail.

A simple knee arthroscopy takes anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.

The procedure is usually performed after administering a general anaesthetic. You will be discharged once you recover from the anaesthesia and start walking.

This typically takes 2 to 3 hours after the surgery. However, some patients may take longer time to recover.

Although the operation itself is not very painful, you might feel some pain afterwards. This is normal. The pain should improve within a week.

After the Operation

For the first couple of days, rest and take things easy. It is important to keep moving though as this will help the knee recover and reduce your chances of getting complications. This will keep the pain at bay and ease the swelling. Simple painkillers and ice packs can be used. Once swelling subsides and you feel comfortable, you can gradually increase your activities..

Return to Activity

You can return to routine activities within 2 to 3 weeks after the knee arthroscopy. Recovery depends on a lot of factors. These include the extent of damage in the knee, the surgery performed, your fitness levels in general among others.

You may have to avoid high impact activities for a longer time. It’s best to consult your surgeon or physiotherapist before returning to high intensity activities.

You must perform knee exercises for several weeks after the surgery. Exercise will help a great deal in restoring motion and strengthening the leg and knee muscles.


Like is the case with any surgery, knee arthroscopy has its own risks. However, serious complications are very rare. Complications can include blood clots, infection and blood accumulation in the knee.

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Gareth Stables

Cheshire Orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Gareth Stables, is a fully UK trained Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon specialising in knee surgery. Gareth has the highest qualifications possible for an orthopaedic surgeon in the UK, FRCS (T&O), and is on the GMC specialist register for Trauma and Orthopaedic surgery.

Gareth specialises in; keyhole or knee arthroscopy surgery, ligament reconstruction surgery, knee osteotomy and knee replacement surgery. He has over 15 years of experience in the field having qualified with a commendation in 1998 from the University of Liverpool Medical School.

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