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The knee is a complex joint made up of the lower end of the thigh bone, or femur (femoral condyles), and the upper end of the shin bone, or tibia (tibial plateau). A number of ligaments run between the femur and the tibia in the knee joint. The anterior cruciate ligament, the posterior cruciate ligament, and the meniscal ligaments are the major ligaments of the knee joint.
Injury to the ligaments of the knee are common sports-related injuries.
Arthroscopy, which involves the use of a small camera and small instruments on the end of long narrow tubes, introduced into the knee through small incisions, may be recommended for knee problems such as:
|Procedure, part 1|
While the patient is deep asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia) or sleepy (sedated) and pain-free (regional anesthesia or spinal anesthesia), several small punctures are made into the knee joint.
|Procedure, part 2|
The viewing scope (arthroscope) and other instruments are inserted into the knee joint. The surgeon can see the ligaments, the knee disc (meniscus), the knee cap (patella), the lining of the joint (synovium), and the rest of the joint. Damaged tissues can be removed. Arthroscopy can also be used to help view the inside of the knee while ligaments or tendons are repaired.
Many arthroscopic knee operations can be performed on an out-patient basis. The recovery time, and the need for physical therapy after surgery are determined by the injury treated and the procedure performed.
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Senior Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital.