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We put a lot of pressure on our knees and those demands can lead to pain or restricted mobility. Knee arthroscopy (or keyhole surgery on the knee), allows your doctor to see what is causing any problems in this vital joint.
Sometimes the surgeon is able to treat those problems using this less invasive form of surgery.
You will usually be asleep during the procedure following a general anaesthetic but most people can go home the same day.
Our knees are vital to how we move. But the pressures we put on them in everyday life and the impact of certain diseases or an injury can mean they become painful, stiff or swollen. This can affect our mobility and prevent us from leading full lives.
You and your doctor may have decided that you need this procedure because you:
Arthroscopy is a ‘keyhole’ operation that allows your doctors to see inside and treat joints, particularly the knee. It is useful for finding out what is causing symptoms, to deliver treatment for conditions such as arthritis and inflammation, to take small samples of tissue, or to repair damage to tissues and cartilage. The procedure is usually done as a day-case.
Your expert surgeon will make very small cuts in the skin around the joint and insert a thin, tube-like telescope (or arthroscope).
You’re likely to have a general anaesthetic (which means you’ll be asleep) and you’ll probably be able to go home the same day.
We pride ourselves on our clinical excellence, you'll be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.
Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.
All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.
Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-speciality surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.
You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.
For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.
Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
If your child is undergoing a knee arthroscopy, we will invite you to bring your child for a pre-admission visit. You will meet some of the staff who will be looking after your child, and the visit will help them to feel more familiar with the hospital when they return for their actual admission.
Your consultant will give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your child's procedure. Once your child has been booked in to have a knee arthroscopy, they shouldn’t eat or drink anything from midnight on the day of the operation. If your child has a cold or infection in the week before the operation, please phone the hospital. The operation may need to be postponed until your child has fully recovered.
Your treatment may be adapted to meet your child's individual needs, so it’s important to follow your consultant’s advice. It's natural to feel anxious before hospital treatment, but knowing what to expect can help. Please raise any concerns or questions with your consultants or children's nurse so you feel comfortable and in control. We're here to help every step of the way.
We understand that having any operation can cause anxiety. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there to reassure you throughout.
You will usually be given a general anaesthetic (although for some patients, epidural or spinal anaesthesia is preferable - this will completely block the feeling in your legs but you stay awake) and once this has taken affect and you are asleep (or numb), your surgeon will make two small cuts (about 5mm long) in the skin around the knee joint. Sterile fluid will be pumped into one cut to provide a clearer view while your surgeon will insert the arthroscope through the second cut.
They’ll examine the joint directly or by looking at pictures on a nearby screen. If necessary he or she will insert special surgical instruments to repair any damage or remove material that interferes with movement.
The fluid will be drained out and the cuts closed with stitches or adhesive strips before a dressing and bandage are applied.
The procedure can be as short as 30 minutes but may take over an hour, depending on the treatment the surgeon has to perform.
You’ll probably be able to go home a few hours after the operation but you’ll need to be collected by a friend or relative. Before you go home, a physiotherapist will also visit you to guide you through exercises to get your joint moving.
If you do stay with us overnight, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.
The joint will feel painful and we’ll give you painkillers while you are with us. If you need them, continue taking painkillers as advised by the hospital.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
You will have a dressing and elasticated bandage over the knee joint. These apply pressure to assist with healing. The joint area needs to be kept clean and dry for about a week. You should use waterproof plasters over your healing wounds when you take a shower and avoid soaking your knee in the bath until the cuts are fully healed.
It’s crucial that you continue with the exercises recommended by your physiotherapist, as these will aid healing and help you recover more quickly. Your knee joint is likely to feel sore and swollen for at least a week. This can last longer if you have arthritis. Try to keep your leg raised up on a chair or footstool.
Once you’re ready to be discharged from hospital, you’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home.
You’ll have limited mobility for at least a few days so it’s a good idea to make sure you have someone who can help out around the home and with shopping if you live alone.
Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way. After knee arthroscopy surgery, we’ll provide you with all the appropriate medication, physiotherapy exercises, advice on what to do and not to do with your knee and follow-up support. You will also be given a follow-up appointment to see your consultant and you might also be seen again by your physiotherapist.
Like all medical treatments, knee arthroscopy carries the risk of complications. Specific complications of arthroscopy could include accidental damage to the inside of the joint or a loss of feeling in the skin over the knee. Though uncommon, it’s also possible to develop a blood clot in the veins of one of your legs (deep vein thrombosis, DVT). If you experience any bleeding, breathlessness, pain, hotness or swelling in your legs - call us straight away.
We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you have any questions or concerns, we’re ready to help.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
A fixed price for this treatment may be available on enquiry and following an initial consultation.
You can trust Spire Leicester Hospital to provide you with a single, fixed price (1) so there are no surprises. And, through our carefully chosen partner (2) you can even be considered for interest free finance.
We’re here to help you with making these important choices, so you’re then free to concentrate on your treatment and on getting back to being you.
(1) Important: Please read Spire’s terms and conditions for full details of what’s included and excluded in your fixed price* when paying for yourself.
(2) Zebra Finance Ltd trading as Zebra Health Finance , Lincoln House, Stephensons Way, Wyvern Business Park, Derby, DE21 6LY.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.