When the word “surgery” comes to mind, most people think of traditional open surgeries. However, arthroscopy is a procedure that is less invasive and uses a relatively tiny incision.
Patients who undergo arthroscopic knee surgery can expect an outpatient procedure with a short recovery period. However, as with any surgery, there may be risks and complications. Read on to learn more about the possible risks and complications of arthroscopic knee surgery.
Tissue or Nerve Damage
With arthroscopic knee surgery, the possibility of tissue and nerve damage is incredibly low. This is mainly because most of the important nerves are located behind the knee, while this procedure takes place in front. Still, some parts of the joint could be affected by the placement and movement of medical equipment.
The common peroneal nerve is a small, but major nerve that runs from the back across the side of the knee. It aids the muscles by giving the ankle and foot an upward and backward pull. Damage to this nerve can result in a condition called foot drop – where it becomes difficult to lift the front of your foot.
A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that can develop in your veins. Although rare, DVT with arthroscopic knee surgery may still occur.
If this clot detaches and reaches your lungs, it will cause a pulmonary embolism. Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Coughing (sometimes with blood).
- Rapid heartbeat and excessive sweating.
If you experience any of these symptoms after an arthroscopic knee surgery procedure, you should seek emergency help immediately and contact your healthcare provider.
Any opening in your skin is an infection risk, including those caused by surgeries. Therefore, it is vital to clean the surgical site regularly to prevent infection and help the wound heal.
An infection may be treated using prescribed antibiotics or a procedure to clean and drain the infected area. Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on cleaning and taking care of your wound.
Bleeding, Swelling, and Stiffness
Some bleeding may occur after an arthroscopic knee surgery. However, if the bleeding persists (even after putting pressure on the wound) you should contact your healthcare provider. Similarly, some swelling in the knee is not uncommon, but if it extends to your calf muscle, you should call your doctor.
The knee may sometimes become stiff during the arthroscopy recovery period. You may ask your healthcare provider to recommend exercises that relieve stiffness and restore mobility in your knee. But (as it is with bleeding and swelling) it is best to contact your healthcare provider if the stiffness persists.
As part of your arthroscopic knee surgery care, the physician will inform you of the usual length of time you should expect to experience bleeding, swelling, and stiffness. However, if you suspect that what is happening is abnormal, do not hesitate to give your healthcare provider a call.
Allergic Reaction to Anesthesia
Arthroscopic knee surgery requires the use of anesthesia. Depending on your condition, and at your surgeon’s discretion, you may receive one of these three:
- Local anesthesia – an anesthetic agent administered directly to the surgical site.
- Regional anesthesia – numbs a larger portion of your body, but it is still limited to the area of the surgery.
- General anesthesia – induces unconsciousness during surgery.
Although rare, it is still possible to have allergic reactions to anesthetics. If this happens, your physician avoid it. If needed, they may administer other medicines to control and stop the reaction. Therefore, it is best to let your surgeon know the types of medications that you are allergic to before your procedure.
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery in North Dakota
It is always crucial for patients to understand the risks and complications associated with a procedure. This remains true even for safe and less invasive procedures like arthroscopic knee surgery.
If you are looking for a medical and surgical practice that takes every step to protect your health and well-being, then look no further. At The Bone and Joint Center, our board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons are highly skilled and experienced at providing you with the best orthopedic care.
To learn more about arthroscopic surgery and our other services, call us at (800) 424-2663. For a consultation, please complete our online appointment request form. You may also contact us at (701) 946-7400 or (866) 900-8650. We have eleven locations across North Dakota for your convenience.
We look forward to serving you!