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How Long Does Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Take: Full Guide


The knee is one of the most important joints in the human body. It allows us to walk, run, and jump, and is essential for many other forms of movement. Unfortunately, the knee is also susceptible to pain and injury. 

Arthroscopic knee surgery is a common procedure that many people undergo to help relieve pain and restore knee function. 

And if you’re scheduled for arthroscopic knee surgery, you may be wondering how long the procedure will take. This is a common question, and the answer depends on multiple factors.

In this blog post, we will discuss how long arthroscopic knee surgery usually takes, as well as some factors that can affect the length of the procedure. We hope this information will help you prepare for your surgery!

What is Arthroscopic Surgery?

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint such as a torn meniscus.

The word “arthroscopy” comes from two Greek words: “arthro,” meaning joint, and “skopein,” meaning to look. The advantage of arthroscopic surgery over traditional “open” surgery is that it requires only small incisions, which results in less pain and scarring for the patient. This type of surgery also treats problems with the soft tissues such as torn ligaments or cartilage.

During an arthroscopic procedure, an orthopedic surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into the patient’s joint through a small incision. The arthroscope then transmits images of the inside of the joint to a video monitor, allowing the surgeon to see the problem area.

In some cases, the surgeon will also insert small surgical instruments through additional small cuts to remove damaged tissue and repair torn ligaments or tendons. Since arthroscopic surgery is less invasive than open surgery, patients often experience fewer complications and a shorter recovery period.

How Long Does Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Take

While the length of time for surgery can vary greatly depending on the type of procedure, the average surgery usually takes between one and three hours to complete.

Multiple factors can affect the recovery time frame including the surgery in question, the size of the incisions, the amount of work involved, and the size of the camera.

For example, large incisions in the chest area are going to take longer to heal than a small one on your hands. Furthermore, surgeries that require heavy work, such as joint replacements or anterior cruciate ligament repairs, also take a few hours to complete.

Injuries That Require Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

There are many different types of knee injuries that can be treated with arthroscopic surgery. Some of the most common include:

– Torn meniscus: a meniscus tear is an injury to the crescent-shaped piece of cartilage that helps to cushion the joint.

– Torn ligaments: ligaments connect the bones and provide stability to the joint. The two most common ligaments that can be torn are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL).

– Damaged cartilage: which can be caused by wear and tear, injury, or disease.

– Inflammation of the lining of the knee joint (synovitis)

– Loose bodies in the joint


Types of Anesthesia for Arthroscopic Surgery

There are three main types of anesthesia: general, regional, and local.

General anesthesia puts a patient to sleep for major surgery in the operating room, such as open heart surgery or cardiovascular arthroscopic surgery. This type of anesthesia is administered through an IV or gas mask and is monitored by an anesthesiologist in the operating room.

Regional anesthesia numbs a larger area of the body, such as when epinephrine is injected into the spine to numb the lower half of the body for surgery.

Local anesthesia numbs a small area in the knee. This type of anesthesia is administered through a needle and lasts for a shorter period of time than general or regional anesthesia.

Generally, a combination of approaches is used for nearly all surgeries.

Since there are a few different types of anesthesia, the type that’s right for you will depend on several factors. One such factor that can play a role in choosing the type of anesthesia includes whether or not you’re taking blood thinners and how much you weigh.

Remember, the goal is to make sure you’re comfortable and pain-free during your procedure. So talk to your doctor about all of your options to find the best fit for you.

Arthroscopic Surgery Risks

While arthroscopic surgery is generally safe, there are some risks you need to be aware of.

Blood clots are a potential complication, as they can form in the large veins near the incision site. You can also have allergic reactions to the anesthesia, although rare.

Finally, there is a small risk that the surgeon could damage blood vessels or nerves during the procedure, which is extremely rare. Surgeons are humans too, and no one is perfect.

Overall, arthroscopic surgery is a safe and effective way to treat joint problems. In some cases, patients may also experience less pain and a quicker recovery time than with open surgery. 

Factors Affecting Arthroscopic Knee Recovery

There are still a number of factors that can affect the recovery process after arthroscopic knee surgery. These include the type of injury, the patient’s age and overall health, and the surgeon’s experience.

In general, patients who are younger and healthier recover more quickly than those who’re older or have other health problems. Additionally, patients who have more complex injuries may require a longer recovery period than those with simpler injuries.

Ultimately, the best way to ensure a successful recovery is to choose an experienced surgeon who has plenty of experience performing arthroscopic knee surgery.

Rehabbing After Arthroscopic Surgery

After the surgery is complete, the patient is taken to the recovery room where they are closely monitored. Once they are awake and alert, they are usually discharged home. 

It’s important to follow all of your surgeon’s instructions for post-operative care. This usually includes the following:

Doing Physical Therapy

A physical therapist will work with the patient to develop a personalized rehabilitation program that includes exercises to improve range of motion, strength, and flexibility. Depending on the extent of the surgery and the patient’s response to physical therapy, the rehabilitation process can take several weeks or months. 

Taking Pain Medication

To help manage pain for the next few days, your doctor will prescribe pain medicine They may also recommend that you take anti-inflammatory medication for pain relief.

Applying Ice Packs

Ice packs are a common part of the rehabilitation process after arthroscopic surgery. By reducing swelling and inflammation, they speed up the healing process.

Ice packs are applied for 20-30 minutes at a time, several times a day. Don’t also forget to wrap the ice pack in a towel or other cloth to prevent frostbite.

Some people find it helpful to alternate between heat and cold therapy, using a heat pack for 20-30 minutes after applying an ice pack.

If you have a desk job, you may be able to return to work within a few days. However, if your job is physically demanding, you may need to take a few weeks off.

Always listen to your body and not push yourself too hard. Most people make a full recovery within a few months and can resume all normal activities on an outpatient basis. Just make sure to have follow-up appointments with your doctor.


Take your time

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to feel like we have to hurry up and get things done as quickly as possible. However, when it comes to recovery, take your time. Rushing through the recovery process can lead to setbacks and prolong the overall healing process.

Trusting the process and taking your time can help you to heal properly and prevent future injury. So next time you’re in the recovery room or recovering at home from your surgery, remember to take your time and trust the process. Your body will thank you for it later.