You tore a ligament in your knee when you slipped and fell. The good news is that the orthopedic service at the hospital recommended arthroscopic surgery to repair the ligament. This is a less invasive approach to treating your knee damage, and it can even be done as an outpatient. Here is what you can expect from this surgery and your recovery afterwards.

Preparing for Your Outpatient Surgery

You'll have the surgery done at the orthopedic clinic as an outpatient, so you'll go home the same day. Have someone take you to your appointment and back home after the procedure. You'll be weak after the procedure and will want to rest when you get home. Have someone stay with you for the rest of the day to help with simple tasks around the house while you get your strength back.

The Arthroscopic Surgery

The two major differences between traditional knee surgery and arthroscopic surgery are:

  • Traditional surgery requires a large incision over the knee joint to expose the knee for the surgeon to access for repair. You need to have general anesthesia for this surgery.
  • Arthroscopic surgery requires only two small incisions in the knee. You don't need general anesthesia or be put to sleep.

Once you check into the orthopedic clinic, you'll speak with the anesthesiologist about your options. They may give you a choice of anesthetics for the procedure:

  • a local anesthetic that deadens just the knee area
  • a regional anesthetic that makes you feel nothing from the waist down
  • in both cases, you can choose to be awake during the procedure and watch the procedure on monitors in the surgical suite or be sedated lightly so you're unaware of the procedure

The staff will prepare you for the surgery and administer the selected anesthetic. Once your knee is numb, the surgeon makes two small incisions over your knee joint. Into one incision is placed a tube that has a camera at the end to give the doctor visibility to the damaged ligament in your knee on a monitor or through a microscope as they do the repair. Into the second incision, another tube is inserted that contains the instruments used to perform the repair.

The surgeon guides the tubes into place so they can see and access the torn ligament. They will do all of the work on the ligament through these tubes, which minimizes the damage to the tissues in the knee typical of traditional knee surgery. When the procedure is complete, the tubes are removed, and the incisions sutured closed. You'll have two small bandages on your knee over the incisions.

You'll be taken to a quiet area for a few minutes while you rest and the anesthetic wears off. The surgeon will examine your knee, and when they are satisfied that you're not having any uncomfortable side effects, you'll be sent home.

Recovering at Home

Your doctor will send you home with pain medication to cover the mild pain you'll have in your knee. You'll begin physical therapy the day after the surgery. During the first few weeks, you'll work with the physical therapist to regain full range of motion in your knee. Once you're able to move your knee through its normal range of motion, you'll begin strength exercises to build up the muscles in and around the knee. Strong muscles help you when you walk, but also help protect the knee from future injury.

For more information, contact Ultimate Sports or a similar company.