Type of Surgery
Last updated: 11/24/2009
Ligament- and patella-tracking surgeries
Arthroscopic surgery for severe ligament damage or knee displacement often involves ligament grafting. In some cases, this includes taking tissue from a tendon to use for the graft and drilling...
holes in the femur or tibia or both. Aftercare involves the use of crutches for six to eight weeks. A rehabilitation program for strengthening is usually suggested. Recovery times for resumed athletic activity are highly dependent on age and health. The surgeon often makes very careful assessments about recovery and the need for rehabilitation.
Patella-tracking surgeries offer about a 90% chance that the patella will no longer dislocate. However, many people have continued swelling and pain after surgery. These seem to be dependent upon how carefully the rehabilitation plan is developed and/or adhered to by the patient.
Lavage and debridement surgeries
Elevation of the leg after surgery is usually required for a short period. A crutch or knee immobilizer adds additional stability and assurance when walking. Physical therapy is usually recommended to strengthen the muscles around the knee and to provide extra support. Special attention should be paid to any changes to the leg a few days after surgery. Swelling and pain to the leg can mean a blood clot has been dislodged. If this occurs, the physician should be notified immediately. Getting out of bed shortly after surgery decreases the risk of blood clots.
Athletes commonly tear or rupture the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee and require surgery to repair it. The narrator is this 3D animation explains how the patellar tendon is used to reconstruct the ACL.
Step A shows the anatomy of the knee from the front with the leg bent. To repair a torn meniscus, three small incisions are made into the knee to admit laparoscopic instruments (B). Fluid is injected into the joint to aid in the operation. The injury is visualized via the instruments, and the torn area is removed (C). (Illustration by GGS Inc.)
Arthroscopy (also called arthroscopic surgery) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which an examination and sometimes treatment of damage of the interior of a joint is performed using an arthroscope, a type of endoscope that is inserted into the joint through a small incision. Arthroscopic procedures can be performed either to evaluate or to treat many orthopaedic conditions including torn floating cartilage, torn surface cartilage, ACL reconstruction, and trimming damaged cartilage.
The advantage of arthroscopy over traditional open surgery is that the joint does not have to be opened up fully. Instead, only two small incisions are made - one for the arthroscope and one for the surgical instruments. This reduces recovery time and may increase the rate of surgical success due to less trauma to the connective tissue. It is especially useful for professional athletes, who frequently injure knee joints and require fast healing time. There is also less scarring, because of the smaller incisions. Irrigation fluid is used to distend the joint and make a surgical space. Sometimes this fluid leaks into the surrounding soft tissue causing extravasation and edema
Orthopedic complaints are the most common reason to seek medical care.
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