The Painful knee
The knee joint is often injured and can become painful and unstable.
There are many different reasons why a previously normal knee joint may become painful, and start functioning abnormally.
The most common reasons for a painful knee joint are as follows,
- a torn Meniscal cartilage (ie. a tear in the crescent moon shaped, “shock absorber cartilage” tear)
- a loose body in the knee
- a wearing surface (ie. osteoarthritis)
- a torn or unstable chondral flap (ie. a defect in the surface lining of the knee)
- inflammatory tissue in the knee (ie. synovitis, where the body’s own tissue can damage the knee)
- a Plica (which is often a band of tissue that can rub on the surface of the knee
Mr. Rajaratnam will carefully assess the situation with a thorough clinical examination, appropriate X-rays, and commonly MRI (and occasionally CT) scans and diagnose the issues efficiently.
Rapid diagnosis is the key to successful treatment of most painful knee disorders …and we must prevent further damage occurring after a knee injury
Depending on the diagnosis, keyhole surgery may be suggested to some patients but only if the condition is treatable and improvable by this procedure.
Knee arthroscopy is a short surgical procedure where a small camera is inserted into the knee joint (under general anaesthetic) and the problem causing the painful knee is dealt with.
In the past, knee arthroscopy was used as a tool for “having a little look to see what the problem was”, and therefore, did not always cure the condition. This is not the “modern way” !
Mr. Rajaratnam will make the diagnosis before surgery is suggested, so the patient will be fully informed prior to the procedure being undertaken.
The procedure normally takes 15- 20 minutes, and patients will walk out of hospital approximately 3 hours later without discomfort.
It is often advised that patients don’t drive for about 2 days, and then depending on “what was actually treated via arthroscopy” , patients return to full normal activities within a couple of weeks.
Consultant knee specialists like Mr. Rajaratnam select who to perform a knee arthroscopy on very carefully, and use this procedure mainly to “cure” the patient of their condition.
A number of conditions can be cured using knee arthroscopy
- Menisectomy (This is where a torn meniscus is trimmed to stop it catching and hurting.)
- Removal of loose bodies (where there is a loose body jamming a knee, it can be removed very effectively through keyhole surgery)
- Chondroplasty (this is where a unstable cartilage surface lining that is flaking off your knee can be smoothened using small coablator wands, down the keyhole)
- meniscus repair ( In some cases, particularly in the younger patient, the torn meniscus can be repaired and saved via the keyhole technique, which is ultimately better for the patient.)
- removal of Plica (this is a common painful condition which is under diagnosed, as it often does not show on the MRI scan. This can very effectively be treated via keyhole surgery)
- repair of surface cartilage defects (surface cartilage repair procedures can often be done via the keyhole procedure)