Has Anyone Had Arthroscopic Surgery? Advice Wanted

A week from today, I’ll be having a bit of arthroscopic surgery to determine what exactly I did to my medial femoral condyle, the part of the thigh bone which makes contact with the shin bone as best as I can make out. It’s keyhole surgery which my doctor says will take 10 minutes if they can’t fix anything, longer if they can.

Has anyone had this or does anyone have any advice or information to offer? I realize there’s not a chance I’ll be going to work later that same day since I’ll be under full anaesthesia. I suppose going to work the following day, Friday, is also likely to be out. How about going to the local SF con that weekend? How about with a wheelchair?

I’m a bit nervous now. I may work myself all the way up to scared by next Thursday. Between now and then, please tell me your stories and offer me your advice!


A friend of mine had this done. He had a splinal block, so he was able to watch. This had the unanticipated side effect of making him unable to urinate. He was literally screaming in pain at the pressure (and this is a man who broke his hand and completed the work day before seeing the doc).

Since you’ll be under general anesthetic, I’m not sure if it will apply to you; you might want to stop in the little appropriate gender room before surgery regardless.

I had elbow suregery performed about three weeks ago; I wasn’t able to work the next day, and was pretty wiped out for two days after that. It hit me harder than I expected, but we’re different people going through different surgeries. Not too helpful, huh?

I had arthroscopic shoulder surgery done a few months back, although that’s pretty useless to you since I didn’t need my shoulder/arm to walk.

FWIW, I had general and a nerve block, the surgeon was adamant about me using the sling only until the nerve block wore off, I started stretching exercises the very next day. I was able to type, carry my purse, drive and all sorts of normal stuff almost immediately, anything below shoulder level was alright I just had trouble with things like doing my hair or shaving my underarms. Pretty much, exactly as my doc predicted, so that was a comfort, knowing what hurt was supposed to hurt, y’know?

I’d never had general before and was surprised to find out how very much my throat hurt from the intubation, wound up using chloraseptic throat numbing spray for a few days so it might do to have something like that on hand.

Talk to the doc/nurses and find out what the typical recovery is like, and I’d think you should figure on not working Friday, too. Even minor/keyhole surgery is still surgery, general is a big shock to the system, you’ll likely need to keep it elevated and iced and stay home with a selection of big fluffy pillows, good books and happy pills.

Well, it wasn’t ME exactly, but my ex had AS on his knee. He puked from the anesthetic, but was able to function the following day. He had a full recovery, but walked with a cane for about a week or less, if I recall correctly. If you can avoid working the next day, you’d probably be wise to take it easy…just in case. In my experience, the biggest crap shoot of all of it is the anesthetic. Good luck wit dat.

Had my left ACL replaced about 4 years ago. Went to the hospital at 0600, went into the prep area about 0630, went down to the OR about 0830, got on the table and asked, “How long does it take the anesthetic to k…”, woke up about 1200, spent another 30 minutes in recovery, home by 1300.

You have to really, really look to see the scars in my knee area.

I did. It’s way better than getting sliced stem to stern. You’ll be fine, Siege. Hope the procedure has a positive outcome.

I had AS on my knee last week, but not for the same reason as you. I was told to take 3 - 5 days to return to work, and that turned out to be the right interval for me. I was able to walk around a little, but when I overdid things the first day, my knee really did get aggravated for a few days afterwards. I used a cane for a week or so after the surgery.

I had AS on my knee, too, although I had a local, not general anesthesia. You’ll probably find that recovery from the anesthesia as well as the surgery will probably require more time than you thought it would. Any time your body undergoes trauma, even planned and scheduled trauma, it’s a shock to your system, and having had a number of surgeries in recent years, I’ve found that doing too much too soon is a surefire way to end up miserable quickly.

Good luck, I hope everything goes very well for you!

I had my left knee 'scoped about twenty years ago. I had a bucket-handle tear on the medial side of my meniscus. That was removed, and a couple of other things were frayed, and they were trimmed. It was outpatient surgery. I was knocked out for the procedure, but I went home three hours later, with an immobilizer (soft cast) on my leg that kept it straight. There were three small incisions (I can’t find the scars, now) one for the light, one for the tools, and one for the inflation of the joint. The huge purple splotch went away after a few weeks, but I still have some varicose veins on the medial side of my knee.

I no longer had the scary popping and clanking I had pre-surgery, but I had pain for several years. Later on, the physical therapy got better, and they showed me (with biofeedback) how to correct the muscle imbalance between the inner and outer parts of the quadriceps. That imbalance may have contributed to the initial injury. Now, the knee bothers me only about once a month.

The techniques have improved since then, but, as far as I know they still can’t replace cartiledge once it’s gone.

I had my knee scoped about a year ago. I was pretty useless for about three days but by the end of the week I was almost back to normal. All that poking and prodding in there causes a good ammount of swelling. I wouldn’t count on doing anything that requires standing or walking a lot for a week.

I had my left knee 'scoped 18 years. Under a general, woke up several hours later to discover they didn’t fix anything–bastards! Not really–from the x-rays my ortho thought I had a torn meniscus, but when he got in there he found that wasn’t the problem. I paraphrase, “It looked like crab meat in there, so there was really nothing I could do.” As I’m not a crab eater, I had to ask for clarification and he told me that the cartilage lining my kneecap was all screwed up. I imagine they could do something for it now, but I’ve grown used to the noise and occasional locking up.

You can only see one of my scars and that’s because the stitch tore out so the incision opened up a couple days after surgery. The skin on my kneecap was completely numb for several years and now has that kind of pins and needles feeling when I touch it.

Even back in the day, it was outpatient surgery. I was on crutches for three days.

My biggest problem is always from the general anesthetic; I’ve had several generals and I am always slow to come out of it. And it always takes longer to recover than you think it will.

I forgot to mention, the surgeon showed me pictures of the inside of my knee, and the stuff they did. Nowadays, they probably can give you a video on DVD.

They yanked my gall bladder that way. When a couple weeks later I mentioned that I was still tiring easily the doctor said, “You had major surgery. We just didn’t make a major hole on the outside.”

I’d take it easy and let your body be your guide.

I had a AS on my knee in December. Like AskNott , I also had a bucket handle tear in my meniscus. The good news was that he could repair it. The bad news is that that meant no weightbearing for four weeks.

Details: I had general, with no problems there. My surgery was scheduled for 9 AM and I was home by noon. I was doing knee exercises in the recovery room (I woke up to the nurse telling me to do ankle pumps). I was totally off my pain meds by the second day. My knee was stiff, but it didn’t really hurt.

The hard part for me was no weight-bearing. If they had just removed the torn tissue as they did for AskNott, I would have been walking the next day and without crutches by the end of the week.

I’m sure the surgery and recovery will go fine. I hope they find an answer to whatever’s been bothering you.

I had AS on my left knee about 8 years ago as outpatient surgery but with general anesthetic. Went in in the morning, and was home shortly after lunch time.

The surgery was on a Monday, and I was allowed to take the soft cast off on Saturday. Stayed at home the entire week resting on the couch (if for no other reason, you can’t drive a manual transmission with your left knee in a cast!).

I went back to work the following Monday, and really it was too soon. Even though I just work a desk job, by 1:00 - 1:30 I was totally wiped out and not feeling well, so I had to ask my supervisor if I could leave early. I think I ran a low-grade fever for several more days - kept breaking out into a sweat for no apparent reasons.

Hey Siege!

 I had this on my knee a few years back, went to work the next day in shorts with the dressing around my knee. At lunch I went down the the college's athletic trainers and had them remove the dressing. My boss insists to this day that I was insane, and would have given me several days off to recover.

 I was walking on critches for a week, using a cane for a while after that, and nowdays I almost walk like some sort of human being.  You have seen me walk and fence in the last few months, so judge for yourself. The surgery was in 2000.

Honestly, take Friday off, this is the day the pain meds will be wearing off, and while I wasn’t in that much pain the next day, I have a major tolerence for pain, so your milage will vary. If you HAVE to go to the con (or just want to) a wheelchair is a good idea, as is sitting in a corner and bringing an adoring young man to wait on you hand and foot throughout. If you do go, take it easy.
Good luck!

I was going to e-mail you for advice, o Don Sweetums! The adoring young man will be off taking photos that weekend. Would you mind if I settled for an adoring SF writer? Needless to say, Bog 3-Day is completely out and no comments about me choosing a “skiffy con” over it this year! :smiley:

All right, I yield. I’ve told my employers that I won’t be around on Friday, either, and I’m taking measures to make sure I will be able to manage in a wheelchair for a few days if need be, including making a grocery run on Wednesday night. I went under general anaesthesia when I was a teenager to have a badly broken and dislocated finger put back into place. I don’t remember any problems on waking up. Also, that SF writer can provide me with transportation to and from the con. He’s also an ex Navy Medical Corpsman and Wiccan, thus my “Witch Doctor”, so he’s quite capable of giving advice and seeing to it that I follow it. All in all, I may be better off at the con than alone at home trying to do things I shouldn’t.

Please keep the stories and advice coming, though.


This isn’t always a reliable indicator. I’ve had general anasthesia maybe a dozen times, and three of those times, I had problems with vomiting afterwards. So, just because you were fine last time, don’t assume you will be this time.

Good luck!

These days general anaesthesia [lord, but I hate to type that word!] is much improved, in my experience anyway. Puking, etc. is rare, unless it’s an emergency and the patient has had something to eat too recently.

I had a knee cartilege repair arthroscopically several years ago. As others have said, you do need a few days to get back to normal. I don’t remember being in all that much pain after a few hours. My knee way pretty swollen for several days; I used a crutch for about 1 or 2 days, and was pretty much o.k. after that. You do have to let healing complete – which may be some weeks – before doing any serious exercise. My scars are so tiny, I don’t know if I could even find them now with a magnifying glass.