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Knee Arthroscopy


Knee arthroscopy is a highly effective and minimally invasive surgical procedure that provides a clear view of the knee joint, helping to diagnose and treat various issues both inside and outside the joint.

The arthroscope is a small fibre-optic telescope that can be inserted into a joint to assess and treat a variety of conditions. It has a camera attached, and the images are displayed on a TV monitor.

To perform this procedure, your surgeon will insert a tiny camera, known as an arthroscope, into your knee joint. Because arthroscopy uses only tiny, thin surgical instruments, only a few small incisions are necessary. As a result, patients often experience less pain and stiffness post-operatively, leading to a shorter recovery time compared to traditional open surgical procedures with larger incisions. Most arthroscopic surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis and are typically conducted under general anaesthesia. 

Please find below more detailed information on the knee arthroscopy procedure, including what to expect before, during, and after the surgery, as well as information on the recovery period.

For more information or to book a consultation to assess whether knee arthroscopy is right for you, please contact Professor Al Muderis’ office at +61 2 88829011 or book an appointment online.

Knee Arthroscopy Indications and Contraindications

Indications for Knee Arthroscopy:
  • Meniscal tear, debridement, or repair.
  • Removal of loose bodies and/or foreign bodies.
  • Treatment of cartilage damage.
  • Diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of intraarticular fractures.
  • Evaluation of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
  • Reconstruction of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL).
  • Treatment of plica lesions.
  • Assessment of arthritic changes in the knee.
  • Patello-femoral (kneecap) disorders.
  • General diagnostic purposes.
Knee Arthroscopy Contraindications:
  • Patient unsuitable for surgery.

Knee Arthroscopy Pre-Surgery Information

The following is what can be expected before Knee Arthroscopy surgery:
  • Examinations: X-rays will be taken, and in some cases, a CT scan or MRI may be needed to assess the extent of the injury and damage. A pre-operative assessment of the general health will also be conducted.
  • Skin preparation: On the night before and the morning of the operation, the patient is required to wash their leg with a sponge provided in the pre-admission clinic. Occasionally, a Betadine Skin test is used if there is suspicion of an allergy to iodine.
  • Bowel Prep: Glycerin suppositories will be provided at the pre-admission clinic, and the patient will need to administer them the evening before the surgery. An instruction leaflet will be given to guide them.
  • Patient education: During a physiotherapy assessment, a qualified physical therapist will provide patients with personalised instructions on gait training, the use of crutches, and pre- and postoperative exercises. Patients will be fitted with crutches to take home and practise before the surgery.
  • Medications: The patient will need to stop taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications 10 days before surgery, as well as any naturopathic or herbal medications.

Day of Surgery

Surgical paperwork will be administered by the nurses, and the anaesthetist will meet with the patient to ask a few questions.

A hospital gown will be provided, and the operation site will be shaved and cleaned.

A Betadine skin prep will be applied to the area above the knee and wrapped.

All X-rays should be brought with the patient to the theatre.

Knee Arthroscopy Surgical Procedure

  1. Anaesthesia: In the operating room, the patient is administered a general anaesthetic for comfort.
  2. The knee is prepared in a sterile manner.
  3. The arthroscope, a small instrument about the size of a pen, is then inserted through a small incision on the outer side of the knee. Additionally, a second incision on the inner side of the knee is made to introduce specialised instruments for joint examination and treatment.
  4. The arthroscope is equipped with a camera, allowing surgeons to project images of the knee’s interior onto a TV monitor, providing a detailed view of the joint.
  5. After a thorough evaluation of the knee joint, the surgeon can determine the appropriate treatment. Using the inserted instruments, they can perform precise tasks like shaving off torn cartilage, trimming bone spurs, and removing inflamed tissue.
  6. The duration of the procedure may vary based on the findings and extent of the required treatment.
  7. Once the arthroscopic phase is completed, the incisions are typically sutured and covered with adhesive tape. Protective bandages are then applied to support the healing process of the knee.

Knee Arthroscopy Post-Surgery Information

Immediate Post-Surgery:

Knee Arthroscopy is typically conducted as an outpatient procedure, allowing patients to return home on the same day.

  • The patient should use an ice pack overnight with a towel between the ice pack and the leg for comfort. 
  • The provided pain medication should be taken as directed. 
  • The patient should mobilise and put weight on the leg with crutches as advised by the surgeon, depending on the repairs performed.
  • A physiotherapist will guide the patient on post-surgery exercises before their hospital discharge.
  • The patient should avoid placing a pillow under the knee; instead, encourage movement of the ankle and toes.
Dressing and Swelling Management:
  • The bandage can be removed after 24 hours, and the provided waterproof dressings can be placed over the wound.
  • It is normal for the knee to swell after the surgery. The patient should elevate the leg when seated and apply an ice pack to the knee for 20 minutes, 3-4 times a day, to reduce swelling.

Follow-Up: Regular follow-up appointments with the team will help monitor your progress and address any concerns:

  • 1 week postop: for wound check,
  • 2 weeks postop: for sutures removal.
  • 6 weeks postop: for x-ray assessment of healing progressing,
  • Later at 3, 6, 9, 12 months postop and further annually an x-ray will be mandatory. 
Returning to Normal Activities
  • The patient should return to driving and work when comfortable unless otherwise instructed.
Physical Recovery
  • Strengthening exercises can be commenced after six weeks to stabilise muscles and support the success of the surgery. The patient can resume jogging in a straight line and most sports but should avoid any activities that involve twisting and turning the knee.
  • Skiing, snowboarding, or any similar sport that involves twisting and turning of the knee can be resumed no earlier than six months after the surgery depending on surgery’s extent.


If patients are worried about their level of pain, experience significant bleeding, or notice fever or redness around the surgical site, they should contact the office immediately. If assistance is needed after hours, patients can contact the hospital where the surgery was performed, and they will contact Professor Al Muderis on their behalf.

Norwest Private Hospital: (02) 8882 8882

Macquarie University Hospital: (02) 9812 3000

This treatment could be eligible for our No 'Out-of-Pocket' Expenses Program

For further information, click here or to check your eligibility, please contact our team.