Duration of a knee arthroscopy


Nowadays, many surgical interventions are no longer carried out open, but rather minimally invasive. One of the most common interventions is knee arthroscopy. It is used both diagnostically to show ligaments, cartilage and bones if injuries are suspected, and therapeutically to treat possible damage.
The duration of an arthroscopy of the knee depends primarily on the diagnosis made in advance and the extent of the injury.

You can find more general information on the topic at: Arthroscopy on the knee


One advantage of knee arthroscopy is that shorter duration and related lower risks during and after the operation. The duration of the surgery and the subsequent phases are described in more detail below.

Duration of an arthroscopy on the knee

The Duration of the operation depends on several factors. The diagnosis and extent of the injury matter for the duration of the Arthroscopy the greatest role. In addition, the surgeon's expertise and experience are crucial, as is the type and scope of the intervention (diagnostic / therapeutic). Also the Type of anesthesia affects the duration of the procedure.

Overall, an arthroscopy is usually a relatively short procedure - often it only takes 20 minutes. However, if arthroscopy of the knee is used to perform surgery on the ligaments (see: Ligament injury to the knee joint) or on the cartilage (see: Cartilage damage in the knee), the duration of the operation will be extended accordingly. It is then included 45 minutes or more.

These interventions are mostly outpatient carried out so that the patient can leave the hospital after a few hours. High-risk patients with several secondary diseases may have to stay briefly in the hospital. A complicated arthroscopy also extends the hospital stay.

In summary, arthroscopy is an easy procedure and the duration of the operation is manageable.

Length of hospital stay

A knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure with little pain and swelling. In many cases, the procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis so that patients can leave the hospital on the same day.

In the case of major interventions associated with arthroscopy, such as cruciate ligament surgery, the patient should remain in the hospital for about 3 days, as secondary bleeding and complications are more likely.
A hospital stay of a few days is also recommended for elderly patients or patients with previous illnesses in order to be able to monitor the consequences of the operation and the effects of the anesthesia more closely.

Appointment with a knee specialist?

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The knee joint is one of the joints with the greatest stress.

Therefore, the treatment of the knee joint (e.g. meniscus tear, cartilage damage, cruciate ligament damage, runner's knee, etc.) requires a lot of experience.
I treat a wide variety of knee diseases in a conservative way.
The aim of any treatment is treatment without surgery.

Which therapy achieves the best results in the long term can only be determined after looking at all of the information (Examination, X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, etc.) be assessed.

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Duration of pain

Even if knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure with little damage to the knee, pain and swelling occur after the jointoscopy. The treatment of the inner joint mucous membranes, cartilage and ligament structures leads to small micro-injuries that lead to slight bleeding and pain in the following days.

Usually the pain subsides within 4 days. Mild pain can persist for 2-3 weeks.
The aim of arthroscopy is to restore full mobility as quickly as possible after the procedure. If the severe pain persists for more than a week and restricts movement, you must therefore consult the surgeon.

Duration of the swelling

After an arthroscopy of the knee, it almost always comes to Swelling on the affected knee. This swelling is a natural appearance after an operation. The swelling lasts a few days after the arthroscopy and is removed by the lymph by itself. The duration of the swelling can be influenced by the Elevate, Skåne such as Cool of the knee can be reduced to two or three days.

However, if the swelling does not subside over a week or if there is pain, a doctor should be consulted to rule out inflammation and other complications.

Duration of follow-up treatment

The duration of the follow-up treatment depends on the respective procedure and previous general condition of the patient to be treated as well as his age. The Duration of follow-up treatment can be positively influenced by the patient if the recommended measures are carried out consistently. The duration of the follow-up treatment also depends on the procedure that was performed with the arthroscopy.

The bandage on the cuts is removed after about two to three days. The Threads will be within a week or two Pulled on knee after arthroscopy. Further appointments are also scheduled for follow-up examinations in order to assess the result of the arthroscopy and identify possible complications early. Usually the duration of the follow-up treatment is therefore at 1-3 weeks.

General follow-up treatment usually takes a little longer. These include at the beginning e.g. the elevation and the use of walking aids, later carrying out physiotherapy. Depending on the type of procedure, a longer period of rest (e.g. during a Cruciate ligament surgery) or early mobilization (e.g. in the case of repaired meniscus damage). Wait a little longer when you come back sports want to record. You should only look at them afterwards 6-8 weeks approach again. Light sporting activities such as swimming or cycling are often possible earlier.

In the case of serious surgery, Arthroscopy complications or in older people, the duration of the follow-up treatment can be considerably longer. In general, you should not take any measures for the duration of the follow-up treatment after an arthroscopy of the knee without the recommendation or consultation of the treating doctor.

Duration of discharge

The duration of the discharge after a knee arthroscopy is very short. In a pure knee arthroscopy, no measures are taken that have to take a long time to heal or grow. Since the operation itself leads to minor injuries in the joint and irritation of the cartilage, it is advisable to put partial load on for a few days until the joint structures recover.

The duration of the relief can be based on the pain and swelling. These should normally not last longer than 4-5 days. During this period, full knee loading should begin.
If further interventions on the cartilage, the cruciate ligaments or other joint structures are carried out during the arthroscopy, a longer relief period may be necessary. In these cases, the surgeon must discuss the further treatment closely.

Duration of the sports break

As a rule, the leg can be fully loaded again at an early stage after a knee arthroscopy. At first, however, the pain prevents unrestricted movement.
As the pain has completely subsided, exercise can also be increased and light sports can be practiced. As a rule, an increase in training is possible after 2-3 weeks. The joint should by no means be spared for longer than this, as this can lead to muscle wasting and restricted mobility.

Length of incapacity for work

The duration of the incapacity for work also depends on the respective intervention. The patient's condition is at least as important - such as whether there are underlying diseases and how old you are.
In most cases, the duration of the incapacity for work is a few days to weeks. The duration can be longer or shorter, depending on the activity being carried out. If it is mainly work that can be done while sitting without lifting heavy loads, this can usually be resumed after a few days. On the other hand, people who have to stand for a long time, often work on their knees or are exposed to greater physical stress, have to expect a longer period of inability to work of 2-3 weeks.

When is knee arthroscopy an option?

The reasons to do an arthroscopy on the knee are more diagnostic and more therapeutic Nature. She comes at Injuries to the structures used within the knee joint.

Indications of an injury can for example Pain, swelling (please refer: Joint swelling of the knee) and instability of the knee. Different structures of the knee can trigger the symptoms. These include the Cruciate ligaments, cartilage, the Menisci, the Joint capsule and -mucosa. A Meniscal tearwhich usually occurs after the knee has been subjected to force, for example, causes stabbing pain mostly on the side of the knee on the affected side. Damage caused by wear and tear in old age sometimes also requires an arthroscopy. If characters appear in parallel, one Torn cruciate ligament arthroscopy is also indicated.

Arthroscopy offers the opportunity to examine the structures of the knee directly and then treat it. In the diagnosis Arthroscopy is used for injuries to the knee when other methods cannot provide sufficient information. Here the attending physician can see ligaments, tendons under direct vision. Assess articular cartilage and menisci. After the arthroscopy, a diagnosis is made. A purely diagnostic arthroscopy is rather rare, since most diagnoses can be made in advance using MRI or X-rays. As a rule, you already have a treatment goal or a therapeutic measure follows. As part of the therapy arthroscopy on the knee is used very often, also because it is significantly shorter than the duration of an open operation. Depending on the findings, damaged cartilage can be smoothed or removed; a common indication is the suturing of a torn meniscus. A torn cruciate ligament can also be treated with knee arthroscopy.


Knee arthroscopy is a well-tolerated procedure that is often performed. With the right and adequate Aftercare the duration of the restriction after the arthroscopy is limited to a few weeks.
General risks like infection or bleeding can of course have a very negative effect on the prognosis.


In order to protect your knee and avoid an arthroscopy on the knee, you should be on during exercise low loads pay attention to the knee. Bandages, protectors and well-trained muscles reduce the likelihood of serious knee injuries. A hundred percent prophylaxis, however, is not possible