Knee arthroscopy and its side effects

Knee arthroscopy and its side effects

Knee arthroscopy is a very common surgical procedure that helps diagnose and treat many knee joint problems safely without any side effects on the patient’s movement and gait in the future.

The importance of knee arthroscopy lies in the treatment of many structural injuries to the knee joint. Follow us to learn about the knee arthroscopy procedure, how it is performed, and its side effects.

An overview of the knee arthroscopic procedure

The knee joint connects the lower end of the femur to the upper end of the tibia, in addition to the patella, and is one of the largest joints in the body. The knee joint, like other weight-bearing joints, needs supportive structures to stabilize it and help it carry out its function of carrying the body’s weight, such as ligaments, cartilage, and synovial membrane.

Knee joint with pictures
Knee joint shape

Knee arthroscopy is a surgical procedure through which the doctor can view the inner part of the knee joint by making a small incision to insert the arthroscope, which helps diagnose and treat many joint injuries that the knee may be exposed to.

Prepare Knee arthroscopy It is an important procedure due to the great benefits it provides to the orthopedic doctor compared to the few side effects that may result from it. It is considered a safe and minimally invasive procedure with a very low risk rate, as I explained. Studies.

It should be noted that arthroscopic knee operations have replaced many open knee operations due to the impressive results they provide in the field of bone and joint surgery. They help reduce the length of stay in the hospital after the operation and allow the patient to return to his normal life faster, and the surgical scars after Endoscopy is smaller and less noticeable compared to open surgery.

Knee arthroscopy using an endoscope that contains a camera and cannula, in addition to a trimmer to clarify the view
Knee arthroscopy

When is knee arthroscopy performed?

can be made Arthroscopic knee surgery When a patient complains of knee pain that does not respond to non-surgical treatments, as in... Rheumatoid Arthritis severe; Knee arthroscopy allows the doctor to see the joint from the inside and take samples that can be examined under a microscope to detect diseases that may not be detected by other means.

In addition, knee arthroscopy can be used as a minimally invasive treatment method that allows some surgical procedures to be performed on the knee joint. Treatment conditions include:

  • Arthroscopic knee meniscus surgery for partial meniscus resection and repair of torn cartilage
  • Reconstruction of the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments in cases of torn anterior cruciate ligament and torn posterior cruciate ligament
  • Removal of the synovial tissue that lines the joint in case of inflammation
  • Removal of soft parts of bone and cartilage resulting from diseases such as synovial chondrosis
  • Treatment of patella injuries
  • Treating a torn meniscus, such as removing or restoring the torn meniscus with a procedure called meniscus arthroscopy.
  • Treatment of knee infections

Preparing for a knee arthroscopic procedure

Preparing for surgery includes performing several tests to check the patient's health and choose the optimal anesthesia pattern and position of the patient during surgery.

Laboratory tests

The doctor may ask the patient to perform some routine medical examinations with the aim of verifying the patient's general condition before undergoing knee arthroscopy. If the patient's condition is acceptable, the patient can be discharged on the same day without having to stay in the hospital after completing the operation.

Some patients may have to stop taking their medications some time before the operation, such as blood thinners, for example. You must also abstain from eating and drinking 6-12 hours before the operation, in addition to stopping smoking to reduce the risk of complications after the operation.

Patient's position

After the patient is transported to the operating room, the patient lies on his back to relieve pressure on the knee as much as possible. After that, the skin of the knee is cleaned and the leg is covered with surgical cloths, exposing only the area where the incision was made. A special device is placed to stabilize the knee during arthroscopy.

A picture showing the patient's position during knee arthroscopy and the device that is placed around the thigh to stabilize the knee during arthroscopy
Patient's position during knee arthroscopy


Knee arthroscopic surgery is performed under local, regional or general anesthesia. Local anesthesia only numbs the knee and is the most commonly used, while regional anesthesia affects the lower half of the body (below the flanks).

How to perform knee arthroscopy

First, the surgeon makes several small incisions in the knee called portals, then the knee is cleaned of any turbid liquid using a sterile solution through a tube inserted through one of the incisions. This helps the surgeon to clearly see the structural structures inside the knee.

The surgeon inserts the arthroscope through a small incision to diagnose joint damage, and when surgical treatment is needed, the doctor inserts special surgical tools through other incisions to treat structural damage.

Knee arthroscopy procedure and tools used in arthroscopy
How to perform knee arthroscopy

The doctor closes each incision with stitches or adhesive tapes, then wraps the knee with a soft bandage. In some cases, the surgeon may place a brace in cases of restoration and reconstruction that require protection postoperatively.

The brace that the patient wears after knee arthroscopic surgery for protection
Bracing after knee arthroscopic surgery

Duration of knee arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopy usually takes less than an hour. The length of the arthroscopy depends on the type of procedure the surgeon will perform through the knee arthroscope and the purpose of the arthroscopy.

After knee arthroscopy

Recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery is faster than recovery from traditional open knee surgery; The patient is able to return home within 1-2 hours in most cases.

In the first days after surgery, it is necessary to keep the leg elevated while lying or sitting to reduce swelling. Ice packs can also be placed on the knee for 10 minutes every few hours to reduce swelling and pain.

In most cases, the patient can walk after the operation without assistance, but in some cases the patient may need crutches for a period of time after surgery, and they can be gradually dispensed with when the discomfort subsides and knee strength is restored.

It is important to follow your surgeon and physical therapist's instructions to achieve optimal healing.

The patient can usually drive a car within 3-5 days after knee arthroscopic surgery, depending on the surgery performed.

Climbing the stairs after knee arthroscopic surgery

The patient initially needs the help of the stair railing to maintain his balance, as ascending or descending the stairs requires strength and flexibility. When ascending the stairs, the patient must begin ascending with his good knee, while when descending, he must begin with his injured knee (which underwent surgery).

The patient may need someone's help at first until he regains his strength and mobility.

Exercises after knee arthroscopic surgery

Knee exercises are performed regularly after arthroscopic surgery to restore the strength and flexibility of the knee, in addition to making a full recovery faster and better.

The patient who underwent knee arthroscopy exercises for 20-30 days, 2-3 times daily. These exercises last approximately 6 weeks. The most important of these exercises include the following:

  • Hamstring contraction: This exercise does not require movement, as the patient lies or sits with the knees bent 10 degrees, then pulls his heels to the ground while tightening the muscles in the back of the thigh.
  • Straight leg raise: The patient lies on his back, then bends his good knee and extends his injured knee, then slowly raises his leg about 6 inches and continues for 5 seconds while keeping the toes up. This exercise is repeated 10 times.
  • Quadriceps femoris contracture: The patient lies on his stomach and places a rolled towel under his ankle on the leg of the affected knee, then pushes his ankle down toward the towel until his leg is as straight as possible.

Knee arthroscopy surgery price

The cost of knee arthroscopic surgeries starts from $3,000, depending on the procedure the patient needs (diagnosis/treatment).

Side effects of knee arthroscopy

The possibility of side effects occurring after arthroscopic knee surgery is very low. It does not exceed 1% based on Modern studiesThey are usually simple and easily manageable. Complications and possible side effects of knee arthroscopy include:

  • Wound infection: Inflammation of the wound may occur, leading to redness of the knee and the formation of purulent discharge. Usually management is through antibiotics, but in some cases the infection may spread to the knee joint, requiring another operation to wash the joint.
  • Blood clots (clots): An extremely rare complication in knee arthroscopic operations, blood clots may form in the veins of the legs, which may travel to the lungs, causing serious problems. Prevention is usually done by wearing compression stockings that reduce the risk of blood clots forming. Walking or early movement during recovery is one of the best ways to prevent blood clots from forming.
  • Blood accumulation in the knee: Bleeding may occur in the knee, leading to blood accumulation in it. Usually this condition does not require treatment as the body drains the blood on its own over time, but in some rare cases it may require a second surgery to drain the blood.
  • Formation of a hematoma under the wound: The tumor may form due to small bleeding under the skin at the site of the surgical scar. The tumor usually regresses within a few weeks through a local massage.
  • Knee swelling after arthroscopic surgery: Knee swelling occurs due to an amount of knee washing fluid remaining during surgery, and this swelling usually lasts 4-6 weeks until the body can absorb it.

We perform knee arthroscopy with the latest devices and techniques and in a sterile environment to prevent any complications after arthroscopy. However, we do not completely eliminate the possibility of their occurrence. We will follow up with you after the operation to ensure your safety and treat any complication you may experience immediately so that your walking is not affected after the operation.

Knee arthroscopic surgery is one of the most common knee surgeries, as it can be performed to diagnose knee problems in addition to treating many knee joint injuries, in addition to having better and faster results and fewer complications than open (traditional) knee surgeries.


  1. Healthline
  2. NHS
  3. OrthoInfo
  4. Arthroscopy Techniques

Common questions

The patient needs several days to a week of rest after knee arthroscopy, with the necessity of raising the leg and placing ice packs during this period in order to reduce pain and swelling.

Knee arthroscopic surgery reduces damage to the structures around the joint, in addition to being a less invasive and painful surgery and the recovery time is shorter than open surgery.

Most knee arthroscopic procedures usually take less than an hour (30-50 minutes).

You can walk immediately after the operation, but you must do the exercises prescribed by the doctor for 20-30 minutes 2-3 times a day to fully restore the strength and ability of the knee.

You should refrain from drinking alcohol and operating machinery after knee arthroscopy.

Knee arthroscopy is done by making a small incision and inserting an endoscope inside the knee to view the knee joint from the inside. Other incisions may be made to insert other tools in cases of surgical treatment.

Usually the wound heals after arthroscopic surgery within two weeks.

The cost of a knee arthroscopy starts from $3,000.

The patient does not feel pain during the operation due to anesthesia, but after the operation he may feel mild pain.

Knee arthroscopy is a safe surgery and complications are very rare.

Make an appointment with Dr. Çetin Işık
In Istanbul

Make an appointment with Dr. Çetin Işık
In Istanbul