Mr Simon Jennings
FRCS (Tr & Orth)
020 7486 9323


Knee Arthroscopy

Knee Arthroscopy

What is Knee Arthroscopy?

Knee arthroscopy is a common surgical procedure in which the knee joint is viewed using a small high definition camera. This allows the diagnosis and treatment of a range of knee conditions.

What does Knee arthroscopy involve?

Arthroscopy is done through small incisions (keyhole surgery).

During the procedure a small telescope about the size of a pencil is inserted into your knee joint. The high definition camera attached to this arthroscope sends the image to a high resolution television monitor.

Structures of the knee can be seen and tested in great detail.

Using small specialised surgical instruments inserted through other incisions around your knee Mr Jennings can use arthroscopy to feel, repair or remove damaged tissue.

The surgery usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes to complete and is carried out under general anaesthetic as a day case procedure. Prior to your surgery details of your treatment and recovery will be discussed with you by Mr Jennings.

What happens after surgery?

After surgery you will have a bandage on your knee that will be changed for a tubigrip (elasticated) dressing after a day. The tubigrip can be removed when any swelling has subsided.

Your incisions will be protected with waterproof dressings that should be left until review in outpatient clinic.

Your recovery program will start immediately and will be tailored to your surgery and requirements.

You will be instructed on basic self-directed exercises for the immediate post-operative period. (* need to do update) In most cases you will walk out of the hospital.

Keep wounds clean, dry, and covered at all times until outpatient review. The waterproof dressing will allow showering but not bathing/immersion.

Mr Jennings will go through details of your surgery before your discharge and will go over this again when you return to the out-patient clinic for review approximately 2 week later.

If physiotherapy is required this will be arranged in the outpatient clinic after review.

When can I Return to work?

This will depend on the nature of your work and activity level. Most patients return to office work 2 weeks after their operation. Some more physically demanding jobs may require longer off work.

When can I return to sport?

Most patients are able to return to sporting activity within 3 to 6 weeks in a graduated fashion. Your knee condition and treatment plan will be discussed in detail with respect to your specific case.

Your recovery may be slower if there is more than one knee problem being treated.

When can I drive?

You can get back to driving when you are comfortably walking unaided. You must have sufficient strength to control the foot pedals and be able to perform an emergency stop.

It is a good idea to check the terms of your car insurance to ensure your cover is valid, as some policies state that you must not drive for a specific time period after an operation.

In general terms, this is about 4 to 6 days from arthroscopy. Prolonged journeys are not recommended for at least 14 days from of surgery.

When can I fly?

There is no universal agreement as to when it is safe to travel by plane after knee arthroscopic surgery.

I advise my patients not to fly for at least 2 weeks before and after straightforward arthroscopic surgery.

Short flights do not seem to be a problem. Long intercontinental flights are a potential problem as there is an increased incidence of spontaneous deep venous thrombosis.

The likelihood of developing postoperative leg blood clots depends on many different factors, including your general health, medical history, postoperative mobility and a number of risk factors (obesity, smoking, a history of DVT, etc.).

If you have to travel by plane before 2 weeks after your arthroscopy it would be wise to contact your airline's Medical Department and to ask them for advice. You will be at a slightly higher risk of DVT.