For restoration of the knee joint or removal of damaged tissues, arthroscopic knee surgery is a beneficial option. Dr. Van Sice assists Palm County Florida based patients with knee condition by utilizing minimally invasive techniques from his practice in Jupiter, FL.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure on a joint where a surgeon uses an arthroscope to view the joint on a screen. An arthroscope is a thin, flexible tube with a camera at the end which is inserted into a joint during surgery. The arthroscope’s image is the displayed on television, which allows the surgeon to see the joint and what he is doing, without having to open the knee fully. Arthroscopy is used to repair or remove damaged tissue by maneuvering small surgical instruments inserted through incisions made in the knee. The surgery is typically used for:
A physical exam is usually performed prior to the operation. This is done to evaluate the health of the person and uncover any concerns which could cause difficulties during surgery. The surgeon will have to be told about any medications or supplements which are currently being taken. Certain medications must be avoided before surgery. Additionally, preoperative tests can be ordered such as a blood test or an electrocardiogram, or EKG.
Initially, the surgeon will make a few small incisions in the knee, and a sterile solution will rinse and fill the knee joint. This helps the surgeon to observe the knee clearly and in detail. The surgeon can properly diagnose the issue by studying the knee joint. An arthroscope will be inserted and the picture projected on a TV to direct his actions. The doctor will then insert specially designed instruments through small incisions and perform the repairs or removals. These instruments can include scissors, motorized shavers, or lasers. The procedure usually lasts between 30 minutes and an hour. It can take more time depending on the damage. Once the repairs or removal is accomplished, the surgeon will suture the incisions with either a stitch or a sterile strip. Then these will be protected with a bandage.
The meniscus is a rubbery cushion in the knee. The meniscus consists of two menisci one at the center and one at the outer edge of the knee. They protect the joint and keep the knee steady by balancing weight across the joint.
The meniscus is most often damaged by a tear when the knee is suddenly jerked or twisted in an abnormal direction. This occurs when a person is lifting something heavy or playing a sport when they squat or twist the knee. Injury can also occur during tackles in contact sports. Tears can also happen if the meniscus has become weakened or thin due to the natural degeneration that occurs with aging. Meniscus tears are classified as minor, moderate and severe. In a minor tear, the patient will experience slight pain and swelling, but the injury usually heals on its own in 2-3 weeks. Moderate tears cause pain on the side or center of the knee, with the swelling and discomfort increasing over 2-3 days. The swelling and pain may affect the patient’s ability to walk, but with rest, the symptoms will subside on their own. However, it is important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment to make sure the meniscus heals properly, and the injury doesn’t reoccur. When a patient has a severe tear in the meniscus, the torn pieces of meniscus move into the joint, causing locking, catching, or popping. The patient may not be able to straighten the knee and may feel wobbly. When the meniscus is torn severely, it is important to seek assessment and treatment immediately.
Most patients report a “popping” sound and/or sensation when the meniscus is damaged. There is usually discomfort ranging from a minor ache to a much stronger pain. The knee typically swells and the patient may experience difficulty in walking.
Dr. Van Sice will try less invasive treatments if possible, such as rest, ice, compression, and elevation. He may prescribe NSAID anti-inflammatories. Physical therapy may be advised. In the case of a severe injury, the meniscus can be repaired with surgery. Dr. Van Sice will perform an arthroscopic knee surgery if possible to keep the incision small and the recovery time as short as possible.