Knee arthroscopy is indicated for the treatment of meniscus pathologies, such as joint cartilage lesions, osteochondral lesions, loose bodies within the knee, advanced synovitis, cruciate ligament ruptures and some tibia plateau fractures. Ligamentoplasty is indicated for the treatment of ligament injuries.
To perform a meniscectomy, the surgeon introduces the arthroscope to properly diagnose the problem, using a video image to guide the probe. He then commences ligamentoplasty or ligament reconstruction, performed by replacing the damaged ligament with a substitute graft which may be a section of the tendon or hamstrings, either belonging to the patient or alternatively taken from a corpse. Direct stitching of a broken ligament does not work properly, the purpose of surgery being the placement of the substitute graft at the tension point of the original ligament. The graft may be set using screws, wires or pins. Ligament rupture often produces meniscus lesions, reconstruction of the ligament being then required.
As in any surgery, various complications can occur, the most common being inability to completely extend the knee, which can be caused by arthrofibrosis, intercondylar cut scarring or knee immobilisation when flexed or infected.
After surgery, the patient will experience oedema and knee pain, and should always use walking aids. A month and a half after the surgery, the aids will no longer be needed or can partially be done away with, although walking on firm ground only is still advised. Usually after two months the oedema will have completely disappeared, as well as the pain.