Knee arthroscopy is a minimal-access surgical technique to assess and treat various knee traumas where a tiny incision is made to insert a small, long device fitted with a camera. The visuals of your knee’s interior are projected as the camera relays them, aiding in the diagnosing process, and helping your doctor in determining the nature of your injury. Through another separate incision, medical instruments are inserted in order to fix or remove any damaged tissue.

Who needs knee arthroscopy?

Dr Andre Olivier may suggest knee arthroscopy if your knee pain persists despite trying nonsurgical treatments such as rest, ice, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy (PT). Unfortunately, arthroscopic knee surgery is not always an effective option for osteoarthritis which is a common source of joint discomfort.

Knee injuries among athletes of all ages are quite widespread, especially in contact sports and activities that involve a lot of jumping.

You may need knee arthroscopy if you have the following:

Soft tissue injuries:

Damage to ligaments (connecting bones) and tendons (connecting muscles). The knee is particularly vulnerable and some of the most common knee-related injuries are bursitis, torn meniscus, patellar tendonitis, anterior cruciate ligament tear (ACL tear), and tears of the medial collateral ligament (MCL tear). 


Fractures are a common problem in the knee. It can result in some bones breaking or chipping off, and even pieces of cartilage (the rubbery tissue that aids smooth joint movement) coming loose.


The synovium, which is the soft tissue found inside joints, can become swollen and irritated—a condition called synovitis. This is a type of inflammation that healthcare providers will assess.

What happens before knee arthroscopy?

Prior to having knee arthroscopy, be sure to inform Dr Olivier of any medications you may be taking. Certain drugs (such as blood thinners) may require ceasing of use prior to the surgery. You will also be informed when it is necessary to abstain from eating and drinking on the night prior to the procedure.

Before you undergo your arthroscopy, anaesthesia will be administered by your healthcare provider to ensure you don’t experience any discomfort. Depending on which option they believe is best for you, they may advise one of the following:

  • Local anaesthetic, to numb the area.
  • Regional anaesthetic, to numb you from the waist down.
  • General anaesthetic, to put you to sleep for the procedure.

What happens during a knee arthroscopy?

During the procedure, Dr Olivier will:

  1. Clean your leg and secure your knee in a stabilizing device that will keep it in the right position during the procedure.
  2. A small incision is made in the knee and an arthroscope, a metal tool with a camera on the end, is inserted. The images from the camera are seen on a monitor in the surgical room.
  3. Examine the images exhibited on the screen to diagnose injuries and inform the treatment to be done. If surgery is needed, Dr Olivier will make additional openings in your knee and use miniature implements for further progress.
  4. Repair damaged tissue, shave off affected bone or cartilage, and remove infected or injured tissues.
  5. Seal the incisions with sutures or little bandages, and cover your knee with a larger dressing or bandage.

What happens after knee arthroscopy?

Knee arthroscopies are often performed as outpatient procedures, with patients leaving on the same day. When you’re prepared to head back home, somebody should take you. Following your treatment, you’ll experience discomfort. In the initial days of your recuperation, it’s vital that you:

  • Take a break from putting pressure on your knee for a few days. To help you move around, you can use crutches or a walker.
  • Raise your knee to alleviate swelling and lessen discomfort. Aim to have it higher than your heart to ensure the best results.
  • Dr Olivier may suggest taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or prescription pain medication. Adhere to their guidance when administering the medication. It’s possible that you need additional drugs for swelling reduction or to stop blood clots from forming.
  • Be sure to keep your incisions covered and the bandage in place. Additionally, maintain cleanliness. Dr Olivier will let you know when it is all right to remove the dressing, as well as shower and bathe after your procedure.

What are the advantages of knee arthroscopy?

Minimally invasive procedures such as knee arthroscopy are often associated with a quicker recovery than traditional open surgery. With small incisions, you’ll be able to stand up again sooner, usually with less pain and fewer risks of infection.

When can I go back to my usual activities after knee arthroscopy?

The recovery period for surgery is different for everybody. Consult Dr Olivier to find out when you can return to your standard routine, including driving and walking on your own. It may be suggested to wait a few weeks before engaging in any vigorous activity.

Your quality of life is important. Chronic knee pain should not stop you from living a full life. If you have any concerns about your health, please contact Dr Olivier’s office situated at Vergelegen Mediclinic Somerset West at 021 850 6398 or to make an appointment.

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