Arthroscopic Knee Surgery


Arthroscopy knee surgery is a form of surgery where a tiny camera is inserted inside the knee. The small camera plays a critical role in every stage of the knee scope procedure.

At the start of your arthroscopy, the surgeon will make small cuts through the knee to pave the way for the camera and tiny surgical tools. About three different types of anesthesia (pain relief) are used to make this arthroscopic surgery a success. They include local anesthesia, spinal anesthesia (also known as regional anesthesia), and general anesthesia.

Usually, the surgeon places a cuff-like device around your thigh to control bleeding during the entire orthopedic knee surgery process. Two to three small cuts are also made around the knee before the fluid (saline) is pumped into the knee to inflate it and also to make the whole surgical operation easy, fast, and effective.

At Sforzo Dillingham, you can have your arthroscopic meniscus repair done by experienced and skilled orthopedic surgeons. In particular, Dr. Charles E. Stewart M.D. at Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine offers expert professional care and treatment of problems ranging from shoulder to arm and elbow, forearm all the way to the wrist, and hand. As board-certified orthopedic surgeons, these two doctors can also perform arthroscopic surgeries involving different joints in your body, including the knees.

Arthroscopic Knee Anatomy


Compared to other joints in your body, the knee is considered the largest and one of the most complex joints. The entire knee consists of up to three bones. They include the thighbone at the lower end of the femur, the shinbone at the upper end of your tibia, and the kneecap (commonly called the patella). In addition to these three bones, the knee has other important structures such as:

Articular cartilage

This is a slippery substance that helps your knees glide smoothly as you straighten or bend your leg. Articular cartilage covers the ends of the tibia and femur, including the backside of the patella. 


Synovium is a thin lining surrounding your knee joint. This lining produces fluids to lubricate the cartilage. The fluid also reduces friction when moving your knees. 


These are two wedge-shaped meniscus cartilage pieces that play the role of “shock absorbers” between the femur and tibia. Unlike the articular cartilage, your meniscus is rubbery and tough to stabilize and cushion the knee joint.


Ligaments connect bones to each other. About four ligaments are available in your knee. Each ligament acts as a strong rope or string to hold your bones together. The ligaments also maintain the stability of your knees.

Two collateral ligaments are located on either side of the knee, while the two cruciate ligaments are located inside the knee joint. This set of ligaments crosses each other in what appears like an “X” with the posterior cruciate ligament in the back and the anterior cruciate ligament found in the front of your knee.

The anatomy of your knee helps your orthopedic surgeons understand the structure of this vital joint. The surgeon uses arthroscopy to diagnose and treat damaged ligaments, articular cartilage, and other structures within the knee joint.

When is Arthroscopic Knee Surgery performed?


Your healthcare provider is likely to recommend knee arthroscopy if you are experiencing inner knee pain. The doctor makes this decision after diagnosing the condition and symptoms causing pain on the inside of the knee.

Alternatively, your physician may order the knee arthroscopy in order to help find the right diagnosis. In both cases, knee arthroscopy is a better option for surgeons to establish the source of your knee pain before treating the problem. Knee arthroscopy is likely to relieve painful symptoms that damage your cartilage surfaces or other soft tissues surrounding the knee joint. 

In this sense, the common arthroscopic procedure for your injured knee can be done due to the following:

  • Reconstruction surgery of a torn or damaged anterior cruciate ligament
  • Removal or repair of your torn meniscus
  • Removal of loose debris and fragments of cartilage or bone
  • Removal of a swollen synovial tissue
  • Trimming of injured articular cartilage
  • Treatment of knee infection (sepsis)
  • Treatment of kneecap (patella) problems

During the preparation for your knee surgery, our Dr. Charles E. Stewart M.D. at Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine will examine you and ask a few questions regarding your general well-being. Make sure to disclose to the doctor any over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, or supplements you may be currently taking.

This piece of information is important because your surgeon may ask you to stop taking medicines such as ibuprofen or aspirins for some days or weeks just before the scheduled day of your knee arthroscopy.

Likewise, you are advised not to eat or drink for a period ranging between six and 12 hours prior to surgery. In case of discomfort during and after the surgical procedure, your physician may prescribe you specific pain-relieving medication.

Benefits of Arthroscopic Knee Surgery


As mentioned above, arthroscopy of the knee plays a significant role in the diagnosis and treatment of your knee joint condition. This medical procedure helps your doctor confirm the treatment for your knee problems such as cartilage wear and meniscus tears.

With an arthroscopy procure, you can ultimately be sure of getting some relief from your knee pain. This surgical procedure can also help improve your mobility significantly. Know more about this whole surgery process by connecting with our Dr. Charles E. Stewart M.D. at Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine.

Above all, the key benefit of the knee arthroscopy procedure is maintaining a normal, active lifestyle with a lot of comfort throughout.

Arthroscopic Knee Diagnosis

Your orthopedic surgeon will likely suggest that you consult your primary caregiver to assess and perform tests regarding your general health. This is important before going for arthroscopic surgery. During the assessment, the doctor will identify underlying health problems (if any) that can interfere with the surgical procedure.

During the planning of your surgical procedure, Dr. Charles E. Stewart M.D. at Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine may recommend that you perform preoperative tests. These evaluations and tests may include an electrocardiogram (EKG) or blood tests. Most importantly, your orthopedic surgeon may carry out the diagnosis of your injured knee using these techniques:

X-ray – Arthroscopic knee diagnosis using X-rays helps your orthopedic surgeon assess the damage by observing knee arthroscopy images created by electromagnetic waves. These images show key parts of your knee joint in varying shades of black and white. This is due to the fact that different body tissues absorb different levels of radiation.

MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI scan is a non-invasive imaging technology used in disease detection, diagnosis, or treatment monitoring. While diagnosing your knee joint, MRI will produce three-dimensional and detailed anatomical images to help your orthopedic surgeon perform surgery at the affected place. 

EMG – Electromyography (EMG) diagnosis involves measuring electrical activity when nerves stimulate your muscles. EMG test is useful in detecting neuromuscular abnormalities of your knee joint. During the diagnosis, the electrical activity of your muscles is picked up and displayed on a monitor (oscilloscope).

Arthroscopic Knee Treatments 

When it comes to arthroscopic treatment, you may choose a nonsurgical option or settle for surgical treatment. 

  • Nonsurgical Treatment

With nonsurgical treatment, you may be required to have some rest, go for physical therapy or take prescribed medications to reduce pain. You may as well wear braces and use steroid injections to help relieve pain. Most nonsurgical treatment plans are tailored toward speeding up your recovery time.

  • Surgical Treatment

If nonsurgical methods don’t work for you, then you may consider the surgical treatment option. Arthroscopic surgery of your knee may come in handy to help repair damaged ligaments, cartilage, and bones inside the knee. 

Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Procedure

Whether you want to undergo the right knee arthroscopy or left knee arthroscopy surgery, rest assured that this knee scope procedure is the same. At the start, Dr. Charles E. Stewart M.D. at Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine will make small incisions or portals in your injured knee. 

The surgeon will use the sterile solution to fill up the knee joint or rinse away cloudy fluids that may interfere with the procedure. Sterile fluid allows the surgeon to view the internal components of your knee during the operation. 

Once the fluid is inside the knee, the surgeon will insert small surgical instruments and the arthroscope to project the images on the screen. Specialized surgical instruments will be used to shave, cut, grasp, and even perform the delicate meniscal repair.  

During a knee arthroscopy surgery, Dr. Charles E. Stewart M.D. at Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine will be able to view your knee joint to make the operation a success. This surgical procedure is critical in diagnosing and treating a wide range of knee injuries. For more information about the arthroscopy of the knee, visit Sforzo Dillingham today.


How long does it take to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery?

Arthroscopy knee recovery time can vary from one person to another. On average, your knee arthroscopy recovery may take between six and eight weeks. In most cases, patients can go back to performing light duties within a week following their knee arthroscopy surgery. Some may return to their usual active lifestyle just one or two weeks after the operation.

Is arthroscopic knee surgery painful?

Pain is a normal part of arthroscopic surgery. During the surgical procedure, you may not feel pain due to anesthesia. However, the pain comes after the surgical procedure.

Can you walk after a knee arthroscopy?

Yes, although you may have to do it little by little until you are fully recovered.

What is the difference between arthroscopic vs. laparoscopic?

Arthroscopic surgery is applicable in joints, while laparoscopic surgery is used to evaluate and treat abdominal contents.

Focusing On You

As healthcare is ever changing, Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine, is doing things differently…

  • Christopher R. Sforzo, M.D. is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship trained in hand and upper extremity surgery. He provides expert care in the treatment of problems involving the shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. He performs many procedures using minimally invasive techniques includi
  • Christopher L. Dillingham, M.D. is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship trained in hand, shoulder, and arm surgery. He specializes in the treatment of problems with rotator cuff disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome and nerve injury, joint replacement, arthritis surgery, fracture repair, foot and ankle
  • Charles E. Stewart M.D. is a board certified, Johns Hopkins fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in adult complex reconstruction of the lower extremity. His specialties include, lower extremity sports injuries, meniscal injuries, partial knee replacement, total hip and knee arthroplasty (replacement), as
  • Philip A. Meinhardt, M.D. is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship trained spine surgeon. He specializes in adult spinal surgeries including reconstruction of spinal deformities, minimally invasive/microscopic spinal procedures, decompression, spinal instrumentation, fusion procedures and microscopic cer



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Over the years we had seen several orthopedists in town but were never impressed. They seemed to lack knowledge or compassion or both. Then when Liza was in high school, she went to Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine for a minor sports injury. They not only diagnosed her somewhat obscure problem, but explained things in a way that she understood without being patronizing…

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