Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Duc Nguyen may recommend arthroscopic knee surgery if he suspects you have a torn meniscus, a rubbery disc of cartilage that cushions your knee. The surgical technique uses a small camera to view the damage inside your joint. If you have pain at the side or center of your knee, swelling, and trouble with simple knee functions, get a consult with Dr. Nguyen to see if you need this treatment. Residents of Redwood City, California can call to make an appointment with Dr. Nguyen or use the online booking tool.
The surgical technique involves making a small incision in the knee area. Into this incision, Dr. Nguyen inserts a small, specially developed camera, which projects images of your damaged joint onto a video screen in the operating room. The doctor can then view the damage and repair it using small instruments. Men and women who Dr. Nguyen suspect of having a torn meniscus or ligament damage benefit from the procedure.
This common injury occurs at the meniscus, a cushioning cartilage at the knee joint. Each of your knees has two of these cushions—one at the outside edge of the knee and one on the inside. The purpose of the meniscus is to keep the knee joint steady and evenly balance your weight along the joint. If you tear one of these pieces of cartilage, your knee has trouble functioning properly.
The tear may happen when you twist or turn quickly, such as when you’re playing a sport or while skiing. As you age, the meniscus weakens, so it’s easier to tear. Symptoms of a torn meniscus include:
First Dr. Nguyen puts you under sedation or anesthesia. Then he makes a few incisions into your knee and inserts the small camera or arthroscope. He examines your knee joint and surrounding tissue, repairs the damaged areas with small tools, and then closes the incision with sutures.
Arthroscopic knee surgery is often an outpatient procedure, meaning you go home the same day—once you’ve recovered from the anesthesia. Dr. Nguyen and staff gives you postoperative instructions as to how to care for your knee, including information on icing, changing the dressings, and recommended activities.
Dr. Nguyen may also refer you to a physical therapist to facilitate your healing process and get you back to normal function quicker. You won’t be able to drive for one to three weeks, depending on the extent of your surgery and how you heal. It takes six to eight weeks for most people to restore most normal knee function.