What Are the Different Types of Knee Surgery?
Arthroscopy is a knee surgery option that is minimally invasive. The word arthroscopy is a joining of the Greek words “joint” and “to look.” True to its name, this is a great way for surgeons to get a good look at a patient’s joint to see what’s going on. While it is a powerful diagnostic tool, it’s also a preferred way to do surgery whenever possible.
Small tools, known as arthroscopic tools, can be inserted through incisions made into a joint. In this case, that joint would be the knee. The arthroscopic camera lens we use allows us to work with great accuracy. There are multiple arthroscopic surgeries we offer at Mattalino Orthopaedic.
Loose Body Removal
When bits of bone or cartilage break off to float around within the knee joint, those bits are called debris. We offer a minimally invasive outpatient procedure to treat this issue, which involves carefully removing this debris. First, an anesthetic will be administered, and the knee will be thoroughly cleaned. Then, several small openings will be made, so we can insert our arthroscopic camera and instruments.
The surgeon will examine the joint of the knee and use a tiny grasping tool to remove all of the debris. If the surgeon discovers that the debris has caused surface damage to the knee’s joint, they may be able to repair at least some of this damage right on the spot. After the debris has been removed, the openings to the knee will be closed up.
The anterior cruciate ligament, also known as the ACL, plays a crucial role in the center of the knee. It helps connect the tibia and femur. Being able to use your knee normally can be severely compromised when this ligament is torn, which can happen during bending or twisting motions, as well as due to over-straightening.
Tears range in severity and can cause weakness in the knee, as well as pain and swelling. This reconstructive surgery replaces the damaged ACL with a skin, tissue, or bone graft.
Healthy cartilage is a big part of what allows the knee to function without pain. Joint pain can be a result of an unhealthy or afflicted cartilage. The good news is that if you are dealing with painful knee cartilage, an arthroscopic microfracture procedure may be able to help, by restoring parts of the damaged cartilage throughout the knee.
During treatment, our surgeon will carefully drill very tiny holes in specific locations around the knee. The goal of treatment is to trigger the body’s production of healthy scar cartilage, which will replace the unhealthy tissue.
An arthroscopic chondroplasty may be an option for patients who are dealing with mild or moderate wear in the cartilage of their knee. This treatment can help improve the health of the affected area. Worn-out tissue can be removed, allowing for healthy tissue to replace it.
During treatment, special fluid will be pumped into the affected area. This is done to enlarge the joint. Then, damaged cartilage will be extracted, and the area can be smoothed over to help reduce overall friction. After the extraction is finished, the fluid that was added to the joint at the beginning of the surgery will be drained. Then the incisions will be sealed up, and you’ll be all set to begin healing and developing healthier cartilage.
A torn meniscus usually results from the knee twisting forcefully. Any motion that forces the knee to move like that can result in a tear, which means we commonly see this injury due to sports or vigorous exercise. It can also be caused by anything that puts the knee under strain, such as lifting heavy items.
A mild torn meniscus may be able to heal on its own, with plenty of rest and possibly some physical therapy. In order to ensure that it heals correctly, you should always have your injuries checked out by a doctor. If the tear is severe, it may require surgery.
Surgical Options for a Torn Meniscus
There are several surgical options available to help correct a torn meniscus. Where the meniscus has been torn and how large the tear is will help us decide which surgery is best suited to correct your injury.
A total meniscectomy will involve a total removal of the injured meniscus, but in some cases, it may be possible to correct the issue with a partial meniscectomy instead.
The meniscus cartilage of the knee has two parts. The outside (or lateral) meniscus and the inside (or medial) meniscus. Together, they are called the menisci. Each of our knees has two menisci, which cushion and protect our knees.
When one of these is damaged, a partial meniscectomy can remove the damaged parts. Depending on the extent of the damage, this surgery can help restore the knee while leaving the healthy parts of cartilage alone.
Results and Benefits of a Meniscectomy
While the primary goal of this surgery is to help you better your comfort and mobility levels, one of the best benefits of repairing a meniscus injury is that it may help prevent future deteriorative diseases that can affect the meniscus, such as osteoarthritis.
If your injuries are not severe enough to warrant surgery, or your condition allows you to try some other options first, there are several non-surgical treatments we offer. These treatments may be able to help you expedite healing or diminish your pain levels. They may also be able to be combined with surgical treatments to maximize their benefits.
PRP therapy is a natural way to treat injuries or expedite healing with your body’s own platelet-rich plasma. PRP treatment can be a helpful tool in the treatment of numerous issues, including knee injuries. This treatment involves a sample of your blood being drawn, and then spun at high speeds in a centrifuge machine. The plasma, platelets, and blood in this sample will begin to separate from each other as they are spun around.
This process creates the platelet-rich plasma used for treatment. The PRP is then drawn up and administered to the affected area. After treatment, the treated area should respond by increasing the reparative cells being produced.
What To Expect From PRP Treatment
Since this treatment uses your body’s own healing abilities, it doesn’t involve covering up any symptoms. As such, improved comfort and mobility after treatment is a pretty good sign that it’s working.
Although results can vary depending on the individual patient and their injury, reduction of symptoms can occur almost immediately after the first treatment. In other cases, the patient may need multiple treatments before they notice their symptoms beginning to improve.
Visco-Supplementation for Knee Arthritis
Visco-supplementation is a non-surgical treatment for arthritis. It uses a gel-like solution to supplement the body’s natural synovial fluid. This adds lubrication to your knees so that the joints can move more freely.
During treatment, a local anesthetic will be used to numb your knee. A fluoroscope, which is a video x-ray device, will serve as a guide so that the injection is administered to just the right area. It may take a few weeks or a couple of repeated treatments before you enjoy the smoother movement and reduction of pain this treatment can offer.
CPM Machine Treatment
Continuous passive motion, or CPM, is a physical therapy that can help you get back on track as you recover from knee surgery. CPM can safely flex your knee without you having to use your own muscles. This is crucial since the goal of CPM is to help promote a healthy joint while also allowing it to rest and heal.
It can be a tricky balance to maintain joint mobility and promote healing after surgery at the same time. If a joint is kept completely still, it can make the joint stiff and can contribute to the development of scar tissue. Scar tissue may limit your range of motion, which is not something we want. CPM helps avoid that by using gentle, precise movement that doesn’t put the knee under strain.
Knee Surgery FAQ
1. How Do I Know When It’s Time for Surgery?
Non-surgical options may be able to provide relief from knee pain. However, if you are facing severe pain in your knee that persists whether you are actively using it or at rest, that is generally a good way to know that it may be time to pursue surgical solutions for your pain.
Another reason you may seek out surgical options would be to improve overall mobility. Depending on what the issue is, if your knee is stopping you from pursuing your favorite hobbies or is preventing you from being as active as you would like to be, surgery may be able to help.
2. Is There a Way To Differentiate Between Osteoarthritis and Other Kinds of Knee Pain?
Besides testing, something that may be able to tell you whether your pain is related to osteoarthritis is by thinking back to when the pain started. If the pain followed an event such as an injury, or a time when you put your joints under strain, the pain could be attached to an injury. Regardless of whether you can remember when exactly your discomfort started, it’s important to have your knee assessed by a doctor.
3. How Soon Can I Drive After Surgery?
You’ll want to make sure you have transport available to take you home after surgery. It is strongly recommended that you not drive within 24 hours of having received anesthetics. This time period may be extended depending on what medication you may be receiving. Some surgeries may additionally require that you not use that knee to drive for a couple of weeks, to promote rest and healing.
If you are concerned about transportation, please feel free to let us know during your consultation. We will be able to give you a more accurate timeframe when we know what kind of treatment you’ll be receiving.
Find the Relief You’ve Been Looking For
Dr. Mattalino has been helping patients better their comfort levels and their lives for over two decades. If you are interested in learning more about how we can help address your knee pain or injury, contact Mattalino Orthopaedic in Phoenix, AZ, today to set up your consultation.