After the anesthesia is given, a tourniquet or blood pressure cuff, is usually wrapped around your thigh to temporarily stop the flow of blood to your knee. This allows your doctor to see the surgical area clearly.
To help reduce the chance of infection, the area will be scrubbed with a special soap, and you will be covered with sterile sheets. The only area exposed will be the site where the procedure is being performed.
Your doctor will begin the surgery by making three small incisions about a quarter inch in length. One is located above the kneecap and the other two are below. Your knee is then filled with fluid to expand the joint so that your doctor can see better inside. Through one of the incisions, the arthroscope is then inserted.
The arthroscope is long and thin, about the size of a writing pen. It acts as a camera that projects an image onto a TV monitor so your doctor can see inside your knee. It can also take pictures and videotape the procedure.
Once the arthroscope is in the correct position, your doctor will begin to examine the structures of your knee on a video monitor.
If a meniscal tear is found, the doctor will then remove or repair the torn part of the meniscus. Meniscal tears are most often removed and the edge of meniscus is made smooth by using a shaver-like device.
If the doctor feels that the tear is repairable, stitches or other specialized equipment will be used to fix the torn piece back into place.
After your doctor has completed the work within your knee, all the instruments will be removed and the fluid will be drained. The small skin incisions may be closed with stitches or may be left open to heal by themselves. Finally, a bandage will be applied.