Knee Arthroscopy

‘Key hole surgery of the knee’ can deal with several problems within the knee. This is routinely performed as a day case procedure and, depending on what procedure is performed, weight bearing is permitted straight away after surgery.

What conditions may benefit from knee arthroscopy?

  • Knees that give way (meniscal tears/ligament injuries)
  • Knees that get stuck in a position (locking) (meniscal tears/loose fragments of cartilage or bone)
  • Pain around the joint after an injury (meniscal tears)
  • Pain at the front of the knee (chondromalacia patellae – softening and fraying of cartilage of the knee cap)
  • Early arthritis may benefit if there are mechanical symptoms such as locking and giving way of the joint
  • Abnormal tracking of the patella (knee cap)


  • Normally you would require about 2 weeks off work (6 for manual labourers)
  • Wounds should be checked at 2 weeks and sutures removed
  • Physiotherapy, full range of motion and weightbearing is encouraged from day1
  • The first 4 weeks is aimed at range of motion and swelling control
  • The 4-8weeks period concentrates on strengthening and stability exercises.
  • Gradual return to sport at about 8 weeks starting with non impact and progressing as pain allows


These are fortunately very rare and when they do occur are relatively minor:

  • Infection: there is less than 0.5% risk of an infection and can generally be managed with a short course of antibiotics, more serious infections are much rarer but may require return to theatre to have the knee washed out with saline.
  • Bleeding: its common for the wounds to leak blood onto the dressings in the first 1-2 days but this should stop after that period. Major bleeding is extremely rare
  • Stiffness/swelling and bruising: it’s common to be swollen and stiff for the first 6weeks after arthroscopy but this will improve with physiotherapy and gentle exercise
  • Damage to small nerves at the wound site: you may experience some numbness around the scars for some time after the surgery

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