Put your best foot forward
This information has been designed to give you a basic understanding of your arthroscopic knee surgery and what to expect during your hospitalisation. Please keep in mind that this is a guideline only and that each individual has different needs so you may progress at a different rate to that which is outlined.
Your Orthopaedics SA specialist will be happy to address any questions which might arise after reading this information.
Arthroscopic surgery of the knee is performed using a small telescope (arthroscope) and operating instruments which are inserted through, three punctures (usually) approximately 5 millimetres long.
Using this technique, it is possible to remove torn cartilage and other loose pieces as well as perform various other forms of surgery within the knee using special instruments without the necessity for opening the knee.
This procedure enables a more rapid recovery than with the older traditional methods, the pain is reduced and the hospital stay is much shorter.
Your operation will involve admission to hospital, usually just for the day. Only rarely is an overnight stay recommended.
A general anaesthetic is usually required. The anaesthetist will see you prior to your operation. Generally, if your operation is in the morning, then you should fast from midnight, however, if it is in the afternoon, you should fast after a light breakfast at 7.30am. You will be advised of a fasting time relevant to your scheduled surgery time, prior to admission.
On recovery from the anaesthetic, you may experience some soreness in your knee and pain relief will be given if this is troubling you. You will be given a prescription for a strong pain killer prior to discharge, to use at home if necessary.
When you have recovered from your anaesthetic fully, you may get up and walk about, unless instructed otherwise. You will usually not need crutches.
Prior to going home, you will be given advice regarding exercises and if required, arrangements made for you to be seen by a physiotherapist. It is important to do the exercises after surgery, as per the sheet provided, to minimise muscle wasting.
The bandages can be removed the next morning. You will be given a tubigrip bandage prior to discharge, which should then be applied for at least one week although it can be removed at night for showers.
This surgery has a very low complication rate. The worst complication is infection, which occurs about once every 300 cases and requires further hospital treatment.
Normally, there are no stitches. The steri-strips and bandaids should be left in place for 5-7 days. After showering, the area around the bandaids should be dried and the tubigrip reapplied.
Some swelling and discomfort is expected. Simple analgesia should cover this. Excessive pain, prolonged or offensive discharge from the puncture holes or a high fever may indicate infection and should be reported to your surgeon. Infection is a rare complication, which needs special treatment.
IIt is common to get some bleeding or clear yellow joint fluid for the first few days. Replace the bandaids if necessary.
Some prolonged tenderness of the puncture holes, especially with kneeling is common and some minor surrounding numbness also can occur.
You could return to work in a few days if you have a sedentary job. Those with heavy manual jobs will need longer and this will depend on your fitness and the type of arthroscopic surgery performed.
You should not drive for 24 hours after the anaesthetic, but can resume when your knee is comfortable.
A follow-up appointment will be made for you to see your surgeon a few weeks after surgery.
For simple torn cartilages the results of surgery are very reliable and a near full return of function and relief of pain can be expected.
For older patients where arthritis is present in the joint, the aim is for a significant improvement in symptoms with reduction in pain and improvement in function, but there may never be complete relief of symptoms.
Knee cap problems are also rarely completely cured.
Repeat 10 times
Repeat 10 times
Repeat 10 times
Repeat 10 times.
If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact the Orthopaedic Liaison Nurse on (08) 8267 8267.
It is in your interest to read this carefully. It concerns what is going to happen to you in hospital. If you do not understand, you should approach your specialist or his secretary, for clarification of any point.
If you are not correctly fasted for your anaesthetic, the operation may be cancelled or postponed until you are correctly fasted.
If you are taking regular cardiac medications, please do not stop taking them (with the exception of aspirin or anti-inflammatory medication). Take all medications with a sip of water.
Please TAKE YOUR X-RAYS TO THE HOSPITAL
*If you do not understand the nature of the operation or the possible complications of the procedure, you should arrange to again see your Orthopaedic specialist.
You will be liable for several accounts in relation to your hospitalisation and operation. An account may be received from: