Knee Arthroscopy - Medical Negligence Lawyers

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Knee Arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopy is sometimes necessary to evaluate the source of joint pain in the knee. Arthroscopy is a technique also used in the repair of meniscus injuries or ligamentous injuries of the knee. Arthroscopy employs a small camera that illuminates the surgical area. Small tools are used through separate incisions near the knee. If you have any concerns about your treatment, please use the helpline to speak to a knee arthroscopy medical negligence lawyer at no cost and with no further obligation.

Because arthroscopy is so effective in the diagnosis and management of knee problems, it has become the most common way to diagnose and treat knee problems. Compared to the older methods of treating knee injuries, arthroscopy has fewer complications with less chance of infection and blood loss when compared to open knee surgery. According to research specialists in sports medicine, there are more than four million arthroscopies performed throughout the world every year.

When doing arthroscopy, tiny incisions are made around the knee. The first thing introduced into the knee joint is the camera. The orthopaedist can see what damage may be occurring within the joint itself. The image is projected on a TV monitor in high definition so everything can be seen clearly.

Other incisions make room for surgical instruments within the joint. Damaged cartilage can be trimmed and tendons can be repaired.

The tissues of the joint can be palpated using these other instruments and the effect can be seen on camera. Arthroscopies tend to be done on an outpatient basis, which means you go to the surgical area in the morning (usually), have your arthroscopic surgery, and go home once you're stable. The total time you're at the surgical center is 4-6 hours, depending on the length of the procedure and you're recovery time. Like any surgery, you'll need to stop eating and drinking after midnight the day before the procedure.

Knee arthroscopy may be done under general anaesthesia, under local anaesthesia with lidocaine and regional anaesthesia, in which you are completely numb from the waist down. In some cases, the patient will be able to see their knee joint in real time on the TV screen.

Errors & Complications

Ideally, the orthopedic surgeon will be able to diagnose the problem in the knee but he or she can miss an orthopedic problem in the knee or might label the problem with a wrong diagnosis completely. This can lead to poor treatment or no treatment at all for the condition.

The orthopedist can accidentally shave off too much tissue or too little tissue. He or she can also fail to adequately fix a ligament. All of these things can cause a diminishing of the function of the knee and possible increased pain in the knee. A secondary surgery may need to be done to correct the issues created from the first surgery.

In any arthroscopy, bacteria can be transferred from the instrument or the skin and there can be an internal infection, possibly of the knee joint itself. These can be painful infections that limit the mobility of the knee. Oral or IV antibiotics need to be used in order to heal the infection and reduce the pain.

Another possible complication includes heavy bleeding from nicking a major artery or vein. This can result in anaemia or in needing to have a blood transfusion. Skilled surgeons rarely have this complication but in can be dangerous if it happens.

The entire procedure generally lasts thirty to sixty minutes. If general anaesthesia is used, there can be anaesthesia complications, including death. Regional anaesthesia carries the risk of nerve damage in the area where the aesthetic was given.

The various things that can be done using arthroscopy include repair of a torn meniscal cartilage, removal of cartilage, trimming of cartilage, removal of pieces of bone or cartilage interfering with knee function, and removal of synovial tissue that has become inflamed.

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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here