Risks of Knee Arthroscopy

As with all procedures, this carries some risks and complications.

Common: (1-5%)

The knee may fill with fluid or rarer, blood. This usually resolves on its own however may occasionally require a second operation or draining of the fluid.

Persistent pain
The symptoms may carry on despite the procedure. A repeat athroscopy or other knee operation may be required.

Rare: (<1%)

The wound sites may become red, painful and hot. There may also be a discharge of fluid. These are signs of infection and can usually be treated by antibiotics. Very rarely, the infection may spread to the knee joint itself (requiring a washout) and/or the blood (sepsis) requiring intravenous antibiotics.

Damage to structures within  or around the knee
This is rare, but may cause further injury and symptoms. This may need further treatment including operation.

Damaged instruments
These may break within the knee and require an opening of the joint to remove them.

Abnormal wound healing
The scar may become thick, red and painful (keloid scar). This is more common in Afro-Caribbeans and Asians. There may also be some oozing of clear fluid.

The skin around the knee and shin may be temporarily or more permanently numb due to damage of small superficial nerves.

Blood clots
A DVT (deep vein thrombosis) is a blood clot in a vein. These may present as red, painful and swollen legs (usually). The risks of developing a DVT are greater after any surgery (and especially bone surgery). Although they are painful, a DVT can also pass in the blood stream and be deposited in the lungs (a pulmonary embolism – PE). This is a very serious condition which affects your breathing.