As Joe is giving a small limp as he’s coming into work, one of his co-workers ask what was wrong. He answers that he took a bad step over the weekend coming out of the camper and twisted his knee. “Still hurts though, like I can’t put whole weight on it”. “Better go have it looked at Joe”.

Pretty soon, Joe finds himself in the doctor’s office, where the doctor orders an X-ray of the knee. The results comes back, but it isn’t clear if there is damage or not.

Doctor says “Joe, I need someone to actually look in your knee. I need to send you to an Orthopedic Surgeon (a bone doctor essentially) and have him do an Arthroscopy of your knee” (make a couple little incisions in his knee and go in with tiny cameras and put an eyeball to the structures of the knee). “That’ll tell us if you need any further surgery.”

Now, your local hospital has an Orthopedic Surgeon that has done many of these Knee Arthroscopies, and your local hospital has all the equipment needed for the procedure. In fact, once the little camera is in the knee, the picture comes up on a big screen and if the patient is awake, they can watch the procedure while its being done.

Frequently, Arthroscopies are performed with a Spinal Anesthesia and a little sedation. Medication is put into the spinal column with a needle and causes you to go numb from the waist down for 3-4 hours. Many of the patients are able to watch some of the procedure. Some people like to go all the way to sleep, and the Anesthetist can oblige them with that too.

Once the anesthesia is on board, the leg is put up in the air to let much of the blood out, a tourniquet is placed on the thigh to stop the flow of blood back down the leg. After this is done, the doctor can make his little 1 inch incision, and wahlah!; hardly a drop of blood; nearly a bloodless procedure.

Fluid is run in and out of the knee to help wash out debris and any blood, and the camera goes in the other hole, so small, that the doctor can go between the bones in the knee to see if there is any injuries. While he is there, he can use little tiny shavers to cut out torn tissues, and an electro-cautery unit to decrease the swelling of tissues. Many times, just getting the torn up tissue out of the spaces in the knee can make all the difference in a person’s knee pain.

But on the other hand, the doctor may have to come tell you the bad news and show you pictures; “you need a total knee replacement”. Yeah; that one comes up too. You see; when the doctor has his eye on it, it is on the TV screen, many times it’s easy to see how beat up that old knee has gotten’ over the years; cartilage is gone, rubbing bone on bone; it’s just how it is. 

Having troubles with your knees; go see your doctor. Get a referral to an orthopedic surgeon. See what an Arthroscopy of the knee can do for you.