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What Happens During a Knee Arthroscopy for Loose Bodies?

Clip Number: 5 of 6
Presentation: Loose Bodies in the Knee
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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After the anesthesia is given, a tourniquet or blood pressure cuff, is usually wrapped around the thigh to temporarily stop the flow of blood to the knee. This allows the doctor to see the surgical area clearly.
To help reduce the chance of infection, the area will be scrubbed with a special soap, and will be covered with sterile sheets.
The 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. The knee is then filled with fluid to expand the joint so that the 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, the doctor will begin to examine the structures of the knee on a video monitor.
Once the loose body is seen, the grasping forceps will be used to grasp it and pull it out of the knee through the incision. If the incision is too small to allow removal of the loose body, it will be enlarged just enough so that it can be removed.
It is possible that the doctor may find additional damaged areas while examining the knee joint. If this is the case, these areas will most likely be fixed during the arthroscopy.
After the doctor has completed the work within the knee, all the instruments will be removed and the fluid will be drained. The doctor may also inject the knee with pain medication to decrease the pain and discomfort after surgery. The small skin incisions may be closed with stitches or left open to heal themselves. Finally, a bandage will be applied.

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