Weighing out the pros and cons of an outpatient knee procedure

Advantages and Disadvantages of an Outpatient Knee Procedure

Thanks to technological and medical advancements, an outpatient knee procedure is very much a viable option for those with knee problems. Being a knee procedure outpatient means that patient will be able to go home the same day a few hours after their knee procedure.

What is Knee Arthroscopic Surgery?

According to Encyclopedia of Surgery, knee arthroscopic surgery is a procedure carried out through tiny incisions in the skin for the purpose of repairing cartilage, ligaments or bone in the knee joint area. An arthroscope is a small device guided by a scope that is lighted and attached to a TV monitor. An arthroscopic knee surgery is an outpatient knee procedure that can be performed on very minor injuries or significant injuries. All these surgeries have various procedures as well as very different risks and aftercare requirements.

A knee arthroscopic surgery may be recommended by a patient’s doctor if they are experiencing knee pain. In some cases, the doctor may have already diagnosed the condition, but in other cases, an outpatient knee procedure can be used to help determine the diagnosis.

When deciding whether to get an outpatient knee procedure, it is important to analyze the benefits and risks involved versus a total knee replacement.

Benefits of an Outpatient Knee Procedure

It is Less Invasive

During a knee arthroscopy, only two incisions are made – one for the arthroscope and one for the other instruments used. This means that the risk of trauma to the connective tissue is reduced and the surgical success rate becomes higher.

Shorter Recovery Time

Due to the fact that knee arthroscopies are less invasive, recovery time is significantly reduced. This is a particularly useful benefit for professional athletes who injure their knees often and are in need of faster recovery times. There is also less scarring because of the small incisions.

Recovery can be done at Home

Unless complications arise with the patient, patients are allowed to go home the same day after the procedure. It is advised that outpatients have someone at home to help them during the recovery process. Patients tend to be more comfortable at home and this helps them recover faster.

More Use of the Knee

An outpatient knee procedure allows the patient to still use their knee until total knee replacement is necessary. This means that if drastic measures such as total knee replacement are not necessary, patients have another option.

Cheaper than Total Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement is expensive. Outpatient knee arthroscopy procedures give patients a cheaper option, as well as time to save money if replacement will be needed in future.

However, like any other procedure, there are still risks involved.

Disadvantages of an Outpatient Knee Procedure

Patient Complications

Like any other procedure, there are risks involved for the patient such as blood clots, bleeding and infection inside the knee joint, damage or injury to the nerves of the knee, blood vessels and ligaments.

Improper Post-Op Care

Although doctors give instructions for patient to follow at home during the recovery process, things can go wrong afterwards. Since the patient won’t be at the hospital during the recovery, further damage may be caused to the knee.

It is important that the doctor only recommends an outpatient knee procedure for suitable candidates, taking pre-existing conditions of the patients into consideration. These types of procedures should be unique to each patient, and can have very beneficial results in the long run, compared to having total knee replacement.