Knee Arthroscopy - The Measure Of Effectiveness For Patients With Degenerative Knee Conditions

Having a chronic condition or injury that causes pain or swelling to your knee, can affect the ongoing quality of your life on a daily basis.  The loss of mobility can lead to a lack of confidence, whilst the continual pain management can be arduous as you seek new ways to lessen the discomfort. From the point of view of a Physiotherapist in Swansea, surgery like knee arthroscopy might not always be the answer.

Knee surgery has long been touted as a successful way to manage pain and to fix torn meniscus.  Candidates for knee arthroscopy procedures often present with a wide array of conditions, including but not limited to: 

  • Torn ligaments 
  • Damaged or torn cartilage 
  • Loose fragments of bone or cartilage 
  • A damaged meniscus 
  • Scar tissue or joint infections 
  • Inflamed synovial membrane 
  • Unexplained knee pain that doesn't respond to other treatments 


What Is A Knee Arthroscopy? 

Knee arthroscopy is used to investigate and sometimes repair painful conditions relating to the knee. During the procedure a surgeon will make a small incision and insert a tiny camera — the arthroscope — into the knee to investigate the causes of undiagnosed knee pain. The surgeon can then address minor issues such as making repairs to a torn meniscus – a C-shaped disc that cushions the knee – or realigning a misaligned patella or kneecap, using small instruments contained within the scope itself.  

While the procedure might not be automatically considered high risk, it does require admission to hospital and the use of an anesthetic.  There is also a very real risk of infection or further damage to the joint during and after the procedure.  

How Effective Are Knee Arthroscopy Procedures? 

Increasingly, the effectiveness of knee arthroscopy procedures across the wider medical  community is being called into question.  Younger, fitter candidates who are looking to treat a one-off injury may see some improvement in time.  However, with the vast majority of candidates being older individuals suffering from degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, it may not be the wear and tear of the menisci that needs addressing, but more so additional morbidities like obesity.  

In fact, so vague is the measure of effectiveness for knee arthroscopy surgeries, studies now show that the outcome from this invasive procedure is no better than the outcomes from fake or placebo surgeries.  Medical professionals now consider that focusing on the strengthening and conditioning of the knee muscles, as well as a planned program of regular movement and exercise is far more effective for patients with degenerative knee disease.  

Not The Quick Fix Patients Are Hoping For 

Many patients with knees that click, pop, or otherwise cause them pain and discomfort, believe that this type of surgery will be a quick fix, and some surgeons bolster that opinion.  In reality though, arthroscopy procedures often prove to be ineffective and a futile attempt to solve issues that would benefit from alternative methods.  

Alternatives To Knee Arthroscopy 

Using evidence-based findings, physiotherapists in Swansea can demonstrate that long term strength and conditioning of the lower limb muscles is an effective alternative to invasive surgeries.  Regular physiotherapy sessions that focus on movement and exercising are key to long term improvements in painful knee conditions.  

Strengthening and conditioning tired or damaged muscles can lead to dramatic improvements that simply cannot be guaranteed by surgeries like knee arthroscopy.  

If you are suffering from pain, swelling or discomfort in the knee, finding a physiotherapist in Swansea, Wales may be more beneficial to you than evasive surgery. 


It's always good to receive your feeback...

  Just a quick line Chris to say that I’ve just got back from the second lot of skiing this year and that the knees have held up well thanks to your expert advice and the exercise regime you gave me. I wouldn’t have thought it possible to keep on with the skiing – and it probably wouldn’t have been without your intervention. 

Mr N Parkes

  I was very pleased with the treatment that my daughter received at Swansea Physiotherapy. I have used Chris & Co several times over the past five years and would definitely recommend.

Helen Price

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