When Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Is the Better Choice

When Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Is the Better Choice

The knee is the largest and most complex joint in your body. Tasked with bearing your weight as you stand, jump, and move, it’s no surprise that your knees are vulnerable to sports-related injuries, as well as age-related wear-and-tear.

Eventually, you may be affected by chronic knee pain. When this happens, simple tasks like bending to pick an item up from the floor can be excruciating, not to mention having to scale back an active lifestyle and potentially give up activities you enjoy. 

When non-surgical treatments fail to provide adequate relief and restore knee joint function, your physician may refer you to an orthopedic surgeon to discuss surgical options. But, when is knee arthroscopy recommended over other treatments? Turn to an orthopedic specialist for answers.

Matthew Pifer, MD, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive surgical techniques for repairing orthopedic injuries and treating orthopedic pain. One of them is arthroscopic surgery, a minimally invasive procedure that has many advantages over open surgery, including less tissue damage and faster recovery. Keep reading about when arthroscopic knee surgery is recommended.

Advantages of arthroscopic knee surgery

Arthroscopic surgery is performed by making an incision near the joint and inserting a small tube with a camera on the end called an arthroscope. The camera is connected to a monitoring system that allows Dr. Pifer to see the structures of the knee clearly. 

Arthroscopic knee surgery minimizes the damage to normal structures around the knee joint, making it less invasive and painful than open knee surgery. Shorter recovery time is another advantage of arthroscopic knee surgery over open surgery. In some cases, open knee surgery is more appropriate.

When arthroscopic knee surgery is recommended

Arthroscopic knee surgery isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for every type of knee pain, but here are some circumstances where it may be a better solution for you.

ACL reconstruction

The knee is composed of ligaments, tendons, and muscles that provide stability. Four ligaments of the knee, including the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), keep your knee from giving out when you bear weight on it. 

The ACL is vulnerable to injury in sports that require quick pivoting, as well as contact sports. When the ACL sustains significant damage, arthroscopic surgery is often the most appropriate option to repair the damage and restore joint function.

Torn meniscus

A partial or complete meniscus tear is another situation where arthroscopic knee surgery is a better option. The meniscus is a crescent-shaped piece of cartilage in the middle of the knee. A meniscus tear is one of the most common knee injuries. If you have a meniscus tear, arthroscopic surgery to repair the meniscus is an appropriate option.

Lateral release

A groove of cartilage allows the kneecap to move up and down so that you can bend your knees freely and comfortably. Injury or wear-and-tear can pull the kneecap out of this groove, resulting in pain when you bend your knee.

Lateral release surgery loosens the ligaments that pull the kneecap toward the outside of the groove so that the knee removes smoothly again without pain.

We’ve discussed just a few situations that make arthroscopic knee surgery a better choice for treatment to restore knee function and eliminate pain. Scheduling a comprehensive evaluation with Dr. Pifer is the best way to find out if arthroscopic knee surgery is recommended in your situation. Call our Santa Barbara office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Pifer or book an appointment online today. 

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