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What is a Knee Scope?

By Madeleine A.
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Knee scope refers to knee arthroscopy, which is a surgical procedure where a joint is visualized via a small camera. Arthroscopic surgery allows the orthopedic surgeon to evaluate and treat certain types of knee conditions by providing a detailed view of the anatomy of the knee. A knee scope utilizes high-resolution imaging devices which allow for more accuracy in diagnosis and offer a less-invasive option for treating knee problems.

Typically, the knee is one of the easiest joints to injure because it is the largest in the body. Frequently, knee problems related to injuries and arthritis can be effectively treated with a knee scope. Arthroscopic surgery can be used in the diagnoses and treatment of torn ligaments, problems with the meniscus or cartilage, and loose bone fragments.

Usually, a knee scope is performed in an outpatient setting. The type of anesthetic the patient receives depends on his general state of health and prior anesthetic history. Frequently, regional or local anesthesia will be utilized during knee surgery, unless the patient had an unfavorable reaction to this type of anesthetic in the past. If this is the case, the physician may elect to use a general anesthetic, where the patient will be put to sleep by the anesthesiologist.

Generally, the typical knee scope procedure involves the orthopedic surgeon fashioning a series of small incisions or cuts in the knee. Commonly, the surgeon then uses a sterile fluid to fill the joint and help clean away cloudy or blood-filled fluid. This will allow the surgeon to gain a clearer look at the knee. Usually, after the incisions have been made, the arthroscope will be inserted to diagnose the knee problem and use a number of small instruments to repair damaged knee structures.

At the conclusion of knee scope surgery, the surgeon will approximate the edges of the knee incisions and close them with paper tape or small sutures. The closed incisions are then usually covered with sterile bandages and the patient is moved to a recovery area where he will be monitored for complications. In the recovery room, knee scope surgical patients are monitored for excessive bleeding, pain and abnormal vital signs.

After the surgeon deems the patient to be in stable condition, he will be discharged home. The surgical patient will not be allowed to drive home because of the risk of reopening the incision sites. In addition, the effects of anesthesia may still be present. Once home, it is recommended the patient be monitored for increased pain, swelling or redness of the surgical site. If fever, chills or difficulty breathing occur, an immediate return to the hospital is order, so the physician can rule out infection or blood clot.

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Discussion Comments

By anon1005777 — On Nov 17, 2021

I had an ACL reconstruction 15 or 20 years ago and the doctor didn’t fix my meniscus so now I need a knee scope to fix a mistake that a surgeon didn’t fix, so I feel your pain.

By anon1001617 — On May 24, 2019

My husband had a scope done in the past on his right knee and it didn't work. Can you tell me of different way to reduce his pain?

Pleasem I am scared for him because he had a bad experience on the operating table.

By anon980265 — On Dec 03, 2014

I don't know how old your post is, but I sure hope you have gotten some help for your pain. I would try to see a doctor who believes in natural healing. Sometimes they can manipulate your body and possibly help you.

My doctor is an Osteopath. -- Stella W.

By anon307756 — On Dec 06, 2012

I am 18 I have had knee pain almost every day for the past five years. I have been to numerous doctors and I have had two MRIs and both come back normal.

The pain can get so bad it hurts to put any weight on it at all and my knee will give out at times, not very often yet, but it has gotten worse in the past five years.

I am going to a orthopedic surgeon again next week and I have a feeling that he will tell me the same thing all the others have: There is nothing wrong. I will not take that for an answer this time. Advice, anyone?

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