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Key Hole Surgery of the Knee

What is Key-Hole Surgery of the knee?

Key-hole surgery of the knee or Knee Arthroscopy is a surgical technique that is used to look inside the knee joint using a small telescope. This technique is a minimal invasive surgical procedure that is performed to diagnose and treat problems in the knee joint, especially the cartilage and ligament areas.

How do we do it?

It is normally performed with the patient under general or spinal anaesthetic, usually asleep. The surgeon can get a good view of the joint using the telescope, also called the Arthroscope, and minor and major treatments can be carried out with this technique.

Key hole Surgery

Advantages of Key-Hole Surgery

The Key-Hole surgery brings with it a lot of advantages when compared to the open surgery, that include:

  • The patient will have lesser pain after the procedure
  • The patient usually recovers faster and thus reducing the hospital stay.
  • Minimal damage to the tissues from incisions.
  • The loss of blood is also negligible.
  • The presence of barely any visible scars.
  • Lower risk of infection
Skin Cut Size in key Hole Surgery and Open surgery
Actual skin cuts made for ACL reconstruction using Key Hole technique

When is it needed?

The doctor might recommend the key-hole surgery of the knee for the following conditions:

  • Meniscal Injury: that includes the repair of the meniscus or partial Menisectomy, which is the partial removal of the torn meniscus.
  • ACL / PCL Reconstruction: that involves the reconstruction of the ACL/PCL ligaments.
  • Stem cell therapy for early arthritis
  • Synovitis is the presence of acute or chronic Synovitis or inflammation of the synovial membrane. This might require a biopsy or a Synovectomy, which is the removal of the membrane.
  • Arthritis treatment: that involves Lavage or the cleaning out the contents of the inside of the joint and Debridement or removal of the fronds of joint material.
  • Cyst Excision, which involves the removal of the loose body.
  • MicroFracturing, which involves creating tiny fractures in the underlying bone usually done for the Chondral Defect or damage to the articular cartilage.
  • Septic Arthritis treatment of the knee that was affected by infection is performed by drainage and Lavage.
  • Chronic Pain in young people, teenagers and children.
  • Patello-Femoral Arthritis: that affects the kneecap or the patella bone and causes pain, which is treated by performing the Chondroplasty and Lateral Release.
  • Pain after the replacement of the knee.
  • To perform diagnostic and miscellaneous procedures.
  • Pre-Patellar Bursa Excision is the excision of the infected and thickened bursae.
Sometimes Arthroscopy is done to diagnose the exact problem in the knee joint.
Meniscal Repair for torn meniscus.
Stem cell therapy by Key-Hole Surgery
ACL reconstruction (Key Hole Technology)

Post-Surgery Care

The following measures are recommended for a patient who has undergone a key-hole surgery of the knee:

  • It is always recommended to rest your knee for the initial couple of days after the surgery.
  • Keep the leg elevated as much as possible to prevent swelling.
  • The patient will be able to walk from the day of surgery. But, Long walks or standing for long periods of time should be avoided for a couple of weeks after the surgery.
Knee bending before and after Key-Hole surgery

Day Care Surgery


For simpler arthroscopy procedures patients can come to the hospital and get admitted on the day of surgery. Once the procedure is over patient will be made to walk in a few hours and will be discharged home the same day. Minimally invasive surgical techniques and advances in anesthesia and post-surgery pain management have made this possible.

Authored By DR Raj Kanna - Orthopaedic and Knee surgeon, Chennai
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