The main advantage of knee arthroscopy for ACL and meniscus injuries is the ability to have a multitude of views inside the joint, unlike surgery in which an open incision is required. This method of examination usually does very minimal damage to the surrounding tissues and allows the surgeon to pinpoint the issue in a much less invasive manner.
Reconstruction of the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and repair of a torn meniscus are found to be two of the most common amongst arthroscopic surgeries.
While the ACL helps to stabilize and support the knee, the two menisci cartilage act like cushioning to protect the lining of the bones. This allows a 'gliding' motion as they act together while the knee is in motion. Due to this, it is not surprising that injuries typically happen to both, either simultaneously or over time. Older patients are commonly faced with torn menisci, resulting from overuse of the joint throughout the years.
Although it is possible to treat ACL and meniscus injuries with physical therapy, rest, and in modifying the patient's activities the injury generally does not heal fully. Not only are the chances for degenerative arthritis increased, but most likely there will be continuous pain in the knee, unless the patient changes his or her physical activity regimen to a much less invasive one.
If the ACL has a complete tear, a graft to replace it must be done. There are two types of grafts- autographs and allographs. Autographs are taken from the patient themselves (much more commonly done in younger patients), while allographs are done using donated tissue.
ACL recovery time can take around 6-9 months, allowing the patient to partake in rehabilitation programs specifically designed to target the muscles and full motion range before the patient goes back to playing sports.
Overall, Arthroscopy is one of the least invasive ways to treat a wide range of knee injuries- not just for the ACL and meniscus. It continues to be a growing practice and field as technology advances alongside it. So, if you're interested in learning more or making an appointment, don't hesitate to reach out to Somerset OSM to see if Arthroscopy is the right treatment for you!