Knee Arthritis Treatment in Bethesda, MD
Arthritis and other conditions that cause knee pain can be debilitating. Chronic pain in your knee makes it hard to do everyday tasks — even those as simple as standing or walking. Eventually, pain becomes a persistent problem and robs you of your quality of life. If you're struggling with osteoarthritis, a meniscus tear or even if you are an elderly patient whose knee joint has deteriorated over time, then it's time to call the orthopedic team at OrthoBethesda.
We're proud to provide knee treatment options to patients living near Bethesda, Maryland. One of the latest techniques we utilize is knee arthroscopy.
The Anatomy of Your Knee
Knee joints are one of the most complex joints in your body. A huge number of components ensure your legs can bend and move properly, including four bones:
- Femur (thighbone)
- Tibia (shinbone)
- Patella (kneecap)
- Fibula, which forms the joint with the shinbone
Slippery articular cartilage covers the surfaces of these bones allowing them to move smoothly and painlessly. In between the femoral end and the tibial end of the joint are menisci, two C-shaped fibrous pieces of cartilage that act as shock absorbers and cushion the joint.
Ligaments, or bands of tissue, keep the various bones that make up the knee joint together and provide additional stability. Tendons ensure your joint remains mobile by connecting muscle to bone. A synovial membrane also covers your entire knee joint and secretes fluid to lubricate it.
When these various components begin to degrade because of arthritis, or they become injured, this crucial joint is compromised, and patients experience painful symptoms.
What Is Knee Arthroscopy?
Knee arthroscopy is a cutting-edge surgical technique that involves inserting an arthroscope through tiny incisions. This allows our surgeons to avoid the more invasive open knee surgical technique.
An arthroscope is a viewing instrument. Once inserted into the knee joint, a small fiber-optic camera transmits images onto a large monitor so your surgeon can assess the damage in your joint and diagnose any knee problems that may be present. In many cases, the surgeon can simultaneously treat these knee issues.
Signs You May Need Knee Arthroscopy
When you come to OrthoBethesda with knee pain, our highly trained orthopedic surgeons assess your condition to determine the best treatment option to help your painful symptoms. The knee joint is vulnerable to a variety of debilitating disorders and injuries. Although we generally recommend conservative measures initially, we may suggest knee arthroscopy for the following:
- Torn or damaged meniscus, cruciate ligament or articular cartilage
- Inflammation of the synovial tissue
- Misalignment of the patella
- Knee bone fractures
- A cyst, called a baker's cyst, that develops on the back of the knee due to accumulated synovial fluid.
Your Knee Arthroscopy Procedure
Before undergoing knee arthroscopy surgery, your OrthoBethesda surgeon will walk you through the procedure to ensure you fully understand what it entails, but these are the basics:
- Knee arthroscopy can be performed under general, spinal or local anesthesia. You and your physician will decide the best method ahead of time.
- Once you are under, your surgeon makes two to three small incisions around the knee.
- To give the surgeon more room to work and a clearer view, a saline solution that slightly expands the internal structures is inserted into the joint.
- The arthroscope is inserted into one of the incisions, allowing the surgeon to view the joint's structures on the operating room monitor.
- Your surgeon will thoroughly examine the joint to determine the cause of the problem.
- Once a definitive diagnosis is made, small surgical instruments are inserted through the incisions to repair the damage.
- When treatment is complete, the surgeon ensures there's no bleeding or further damage.
- The saline is then drained, and the incisions are closed with sutures or steri-strips.
Damage Repaired During Knee Arthroscopy
Depending on your surgeon's diagnosis, the repair of your knee joint could include any of the following:
- Removing or repairing the torn meniscus
- Reconstructing or repairing torn cruciate ligament
- Removing any small pieces of torn articular cartilage
- Realigning the patella
- Removing any loose bone fragments
- Removing synovial tissue that's inflamed
- Removing a baker's cyst
- Stimulating cartilage growth by making small holes near damaged cartilage
Recovery After Knee Arthroscopy Surgery
Knee arthroscopy is minimally invasive and relatively safe. In fact, the majority of patients undergoing this procedure get discharged from the hospital on the same day as their surgery. Your recovery depends on the type of repairs conducted by the surgeon. However, most patients find that recovery is rather quick. Some who have undergone more complicated procedures take a little longer to heal.
Your physician will prescribe pain medication to help you manage your pain level. You may also need to use crutches or knee braces for several weeks after the operation. Rehab may be recommended to ensure a successful recovery. They will teach you therapeutic exercises to restore mobility and strengthen the muscles in your leg and knee.
Risks Associated With Knee Arthroscopy
Complications are rare for patients undergoing knee arthroscopy as the procedure is relatively safe. However, there are risks involved with any surgical procedure. Complications that could occur include:
- Bleeding in the knee joint
- Joint stiffness
- Blood clots
- Persistent knee problems
Contact OrthoBethesda to Find out More About Knee Arthroscopy
For patients near Bethesda, MD, OrthoBethesda is one of the best knee arthritis treatment centers in the region. We take the time to get to know each of our patients and formulate treatment options that make sense for your individual condition and lifestyle.
Don't let knee pain impact your life for one more day. Contact OrthoBethesda and make an appointment to meet with one of our world-class orthopedic surgeons to discuss the possibility of knee arthroscopy surgery. Call us today at (301) 530-1010.