Torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) of the Knee
Recovery after arthroscopic surgery
Do people appreciate how amazing it is that Philip Rivers (quarterback for
the San Diego Chargers) played on Sun., Jan. 20, 2008, just six days
after having arthroscopic surgery? Aside from the fact that he likely had some
cartilage debris cleaned out and the rehab time is measured in weeks, he still
had a torn anterior cruciate ligament(ACL).
For regular people and pseudo-athletes, the days after arthroscopic knee
surgery are spent reducing knee swelling and starting range-of-motion exercises.
This process is hampered by a couple of physiologic barriers.
- Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that can be performed for diagnosis and/or treatment of joint abnormalities.
- Arthroscopy is most often an outpatient procedure.
- Arthroscopy can be performed using general, spinal, regional, or local anesthetic.
- The surgical incisions required for arthroscopy are several, approximately ¼ inch, on either side of the joint.
What is arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure by which the internal structure of a joint is examined for diagnosis and/or treatment using a tube-like viewing instrument called an arthroscope. Arthroscopy was popularized in the 1960s with the advent of fiberoptic technologies and is now commonplace throughout the world. Typically, it is performed by orthopedic surgeons in an outpatient setting. When performed in the outpatient setting, patients can usually return home on the same day the procedure is completed.
The technique of arthroscopy involves inserting the arthroscope, a small tube that contains optical fibers and lenses, through tiny incisions in the skin into the joint to be examined. The arthroscope is connected to a video camera and the interior of the joint is seen on a television monitor. The size of the arthroscope varies with the size of the joint being examined. For example, the knee is examined with an arthroscope that is approximately 5 millimeters in diameter. There are arthroscopes as small as 0.5 millimeters in diameter to examine small joints such as the wrist.
If procedures are performed in addition to examining the joint with the arthroscope, this is called arthroscopic surgery. There are a number of procedures that are done in this fashion. If a procedure can be done arthroscopically instead of by traditional surgical techniques, it usually causes less tissue trauma, may result in less pain, and may promote a quicker recovery.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/11/2016