Arthroscopy of the knee

Published by Professor Etienne Cavaignac, an Orthopaedic surgeon specializing in knee and sports traumatology

Written by Professor Etienne Cavaignac


Knee arthroscopy involves introducing a camera into the knee to confirm a diagnosis.


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You want to perform an ARTHROscopy?

Make an appointment now with Professor Etienne Cavaignac, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in knee surgery and sports traumatology.

Knee arthroscopy consists of introducing a camera into the knee to confirm a diagnosis and, for some years now, to treat specific pathologies concerning this joint. Small incisions are made to introduce a camera and the instruments necessary to treat the patient's pathology.

Arthroscopy: an effective and minimally invasive method

Although arthroscopy used to be a precise visualization of the inside of the knee, advances in imaging and technology (magnetic resonance imaging - MRI, miniaturization, etc.) have made it possible for arthroscopy to be used in several effective ways during operations.

It is now a surgical procedure in its own right. Indeed, to operate on the knee, it is no longer necessary to make a large incision in the joint.

Thus, it is sufficient to make two 5 mm incisions on the anterior surface of the knee. The first is used to insert a camera tube that transmits live magnified images of the inside of the joint; the second allows the passage of miniaturized instruments so that the surgeon can intervene precisely, thanks to video control on a color screen, without damaging the entire joint.

Neither knee surgery nor arthroscopy tolerates any approximation. However, this technique dramatically assists the surgeon who can control all the actions performed live.

Knee arthroscopy: for what type of operation?

It is understood that a complete clinical and radiographic assessment is performed before arthroscopy. This technique is ideal in many cases.

Thus, the surgeon favors it when he must :

  • treat meniscus injuries;
  • perform ligamentoplasties which are reconstructions of the anterior or posterior cruciate ligament;
  • evacuate chondral debris - debris of damaged cartilage;
  • remove tissue adhesions;
  • perform a synovectomy, which is the removal of the joint lining; etc.

Knee arthroscopy: real benefits for the patient

The aftermath of this type of arthroscopic surgery is shorter, less painful, and less likely to cause stiffness in the knee that would delay healing. In addition to the simple fact that the patient will not be afflicted with an unsightly scar - they will only have a few stitches or even simple strips (these self-adhesive strips that are used to bring the edges of a wound together) - they will above all benefit from a much quicker recovery: their physical therapy sessions can begin very quickly. As a general rule, the patient will also be able to regain their mobility as soon as the operation is completed and return home since arthroscopy is often performed on an outpatient basis.

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