This outpatient procedure is used to repair a small area of damaged cartilage in the knee. The damaged tissue is removed, allowing healthy cartilage to grow in its place. It is performed through small incisions on the sides of the knee with the aid of a small video camera called an arthroscope.
The patient is positioned so that the knee is clearly visible to the physician, and the area is cleaned and sterilized.
Accessing the Joint
The surgeon creates two to five small incisions around the front of the knee. An arthroscopic camera is inserted through one of the incisions. The other incisions will be used as access points for other arthroscopic tools.
Surveying the Joint
Fluid is pumped in to expand the joint, giving the surgeon a clear view and room to work. The surgeon uses the arthroscope to identify the problem area.
Removing the Damaged Cartilage
The surgeon inserts small surgical tools and carefully removes the small patch of damaged cartilage and any loose tissue.
End of Procedure and Aftercare
The excess fluid is drained from the knee, the instruments are removed and the incisions are closed. As the knee heals, new "scar tissue" cartilage will grow over the bare spot to replace the missing cartilage.