The arthroscope is a fibre-optic telescope that can be inserted into a joint (commonly the knee, shoulder and ankle) to evaluate and treat a number of conditions .A camera is attached to the arthroscope and the picture is visualized on a TV monitor. Most arthroscopic surgery is performed as a Day-Only procedure and is usually done under general anaesthesia. Knee arthroscopy is a common procedure and over 100 000 arthroscopies are performed in Australia each year.
Arthroscopy is useful in evaluating and treating the following conditions
1. Torn floating cartilage (meniscus): The cartilage is trimmed to a stable rim or occasionally repaired
2. Torn surface (articular) cartilage
3. Removal of loose bodies (cartilage or bone that has broken off) and cysts.
4. Reconstruction of the Anterior Cruciate ligament
5. Patello-femoral (knee-cap) disorders
6. Washout of infected knees
7. General diagnostic purposes
Basic Knee Anatomy
The knee is the largest joint in the body. The knee joint is made up of the femur, tibia and patella (knee cap). All these bones are lined with articular (surface cartilage). This articular cartilage acts like a shock absorber and allows a smooth low friction surface for the knee to move on. Between the tibia and femur lie two floating cartilages called menisci. The medial (inner) meniscus and the Lateral (outer) meniscus rest on the tibial surface cartilage and are mobile. The menisci also act as shock absorbers and stabilizers. The knee is stabilized by ligaments that are both in and outside the joint. The medial and lateral collateral ligaments support the knee from excessive side-to-side movement. The (internal) anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments support the knee from buckling and giving way. The knee joint is surrounded by a capsule (envelope) that produces a small amount of synovial (lubrication) fluid to help with smooth motion. Thigh muscles are important secondary knee stabilizers.