Arthroscopic surgery is a method of surgery in which a small fibre-optic camera is used to allow your orthopaedic surgeon to see the internal workings of the knee joint. Dr Khumalo may advise this type of surgery after conducting a thorough physical examination and ordering x-rays. Arthroscopic knee surgery may be used prior to surgery for diagnosis or in conjunction with surgery for torn ligaments, to remove loose fragments from degenerative conditions, a dislocated patella or fracture.
Under general anaesthesia, your orthopaedic surgeon will insert a small camera into your knee joint through puncture-like incisions. Using the camera, images will be displayed on a screen so that Dr Khumalo will be able to see the internal workings so the knee joint and perform the surgery. Using small surgical tools, he may repair torn ligaments, by reattaching them to one another, remove loose fragments and clean out the joint, or fix fractures and dislocations of the knee. Due to the nature of this minimally invasive surgery, surgical equipment used is particularly small, which means that the recovery is less painful, and quicker than in traditional open surgery.
Recovery after arthroscopic knee surgery will depend on the severity of the injury or condition present as well as each patients' medical health and existing conditions. In this way each surgery and recovery process is unique. Your orthopaedic surgeon will be able to discuss rehabilitation, physical therapy, and any lifestyle changes that might be required post-surgery. Most patients will need crutches or a walking aid for about 3 days after surgery. You should be able to walk with a limp in roughly 5 days. You can expect to experience some pain and swelling for the next few weeks. You will be able to return to normal activities with comfort only after full recovery. Full recovery after knee surgery may take up to 6 weeks as the knee joint will need to re-establish normal joint fluid. You may be advised by Dr Khumalo to do exercises with the help of physiotherapy to help regain strength, mobility and coordination of the knee joint up to 4 months after surgery.