Knee Arthroscopy

What is knee arthroscopy?

Knee arthroscopy, also referred to as keyhole surgery, allows your surgeon to see inside your knee using a camera. The camera (called an arthroscope) is inserted through small cuts in the skin. Your surgeon consultant can use the arthroscopy for either diagnosing or treating the cause your knee pain, discomfort or restricted movement.

A knee arthroscopy can be used to diagnose or treat knee injuries such as:

  • Torn anterior or posterior cruciate ligaments
  • Torn meniscus (cartilage between bones in the knee)
  • Displaced patella
  • Fracture of the knee bones
  • Swollen synovium (lining in the joint)

One of the main benefits of an arthroscopy is that the consultant can establish exactly what the condition is and treat it at the same time, therefore it’s not necessary to undergo another procedure afterwards.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Not everyone that suffers from knee pain or discomfort may need to have a knee arthroscopy. Your consultant may be able to diagnose problems using a physical examination or they may decide that the problem inside the knee can be diagnosed using a magnetic scan (MRI scan). Your consultant may decide that after either a physical examination or MRI scan physiotherapy may be the best course of action for you. Ultimately you and your consultant will discuss whether you need a knee arthroscopy to treat the problem.

What will happen during my knee arthroscopy consultation?

During your consultation with your consultant surgeon, you will be able to have all of your questions about the knee arthroscopy procedure answered. Your surgeon consultant will also talk you through exactly what to expect from the arthroscopy, including before, during and after the procedure.     

What does the knee arthroscopy involve?

Knee arthroscopyKeyhole surgery can be carried through various types of anaesthetics, depending on what your consultant anaesthetist recommends. This is a common procedure and it should take between half an hour to three-quarters of an hour.

The surgeon will make a few small incisions in your knee, and pump saline to expand the knee and increase visibility and wash out any loose material caused by the wear in the joint surfaces. The arthroscope will be inserted through one of the cuts and the consultant will start looking around the knee to diagnose the problem.

If the consultant can treat the issue on the spot, he or she will carry on and fix the knee. It is usually possible for your surgeon to trim or repair a torn cartilage without needing to make a larger cut. (see fig.1)

After the surgery, the surgeon will drain the saline from the joint and close up the cuts.;

What are the risks of the procedure?

Any surgical intervention has potential risks of complications, such as pain, excessive bleeding, infection in the surgical wound, unsightly scarring, blood clotting, chest infection, difficulty passing urine, heart attack or stroke.

Specific complications of a knee arthroscopy are:

  • Developing a lump under the wound
  • Infection in the knee joint
  • Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of the knee (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)

All risks will be discussed in full with the consultant. 

How soon will I recover?

As the procedure is not very invasive you should be able to go home the same day. Your knee will most likely be swollen after the procedure so you should apply an icepack to help reduce the swelling and keep the leg elevated. You will have to keep your knee and dressing clean and dry, and will have to change the dressing yourself.

Walking might be uncomfortable, so a walking aid may be required. Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Most people make a good recovery and can return to normal activities. However, further cartilage tears occasionally happen following a knee arthroscopy.

Paying for your operation

Knee arthroscopy costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own keyhole surgery treatment the cost of the operation will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the operation. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the anaesthetist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.

*Revised and updated November 2016

Pricing

Knee cartilage repair

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Total
Hospital fees N/A Included £4,074 Included £4,074
Consultants fees £200 N/A Included Included £200
Total £4,274
Initial consultation
Hospital fees N/A
Consultants fees £200
Diagnostic investigations
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees N/A
Main treatment
Hospital fees £4,074
Consultants fees Included
Post discharge care
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees Included
Total £4,274

Knee cartilage repair (incl debridement)

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Total
Hospital fees N/A Included £3,333 Included £3,333
Consultants fees £200 N/A Included Included £200
Total £3,533
Initial consultation
Hospital fees N/A
Consultants fees £200
Diagnostic investigations
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees N/A
Main treatment
Hospital fees £3,333
Consultants fees Included
Post discharge care
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees Included
Total £3,533

Knee surgery via arthroscopy

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Total
Hospital fees N/A Included £3,636 Included £3,636
Consultants fees £200 N/A Included Included £200
Total £3,836
Initial consultation
Hospital fees N/A
Consultants fees £200
Diagnostic investigations
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees N/A
Main treatment
Hospital fees £3,636
Consultants fees Included
Post discharge care
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees Included
Total £3,836

Knee surgery via arthroscopy (bilateral)

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Total
Hospital fees N/A Included £5,226 Included £5,226
Consultants fees £200 N/A Included Included £200
Total £5,426
Initial consultation
Hospital fees N/A
Consultants fees £200
Diagnostic investigations
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees N/A
Main treatment
Hospital fees £5,226
Consultants fees Included
Post discharge care
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees Included
Total £5,426

Terms & Conditions

Treatment prices displayed are a guide for initial consultation, and a guide price for our fixed price packages which include pre-assessment, procedure and aftercare. Your Consultant will be able to discuss costs in greater detail at your consultation, after which a quote of your fixed price package will be provided [which is subject to results of any pre-assessment tests]. Prices can be subject to change.

For more information please refer to our terms and conditions (large print version).

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