Purpose of Arthroscopic Surgery

A knee injury to UFC interim heavyweight champion Frank Mir forced his heavyweight title bout against Brock Lesnar to be pushed back to the UFC 100 in July 2009 (from the original schedule of UFC 98 in May 2009).  According to Ariel Shnerer, The Fight Network (Fox Sports online, March 8, 2009), “Mir suffered a knee injury in training and already had arthroscopic surgery.”

Mir’s case of suffering a knee injury and undergoing arthroscopic surgery to diagnose the extent of the damage and correct it at the same time is familiar among many athletes.  To understand why this is so, we first have to acknowledge that the knee – with its interlocking bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles – is truly a marvelous engineering work.  But we also have to realize that its strength is not always equal to the requirements of work placed upon it.

The knee, as a joint, is held in place mainly by four ligaments:  the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments, and the medial and lateral collateral ligaments.  Two of these ligaments limit the back and forth movement of the knee, while the other two limit sideways motion.  A faulty landing from a rebound play in a basketball game, a side tackle in a football game, or a leglock in submission wrestling can overstretch or tear these ligaments and thus result to knee injury; the trauma can likewise cause damage to the cartilage within the knee as well as to surrounding tissue.

In arthroscopic surgery, the extent of damage to the knee is analyzed (diagnostic arthroscopic surgery) and the problem is then fixed (corrective arthroscopic surgery).  This surgical technique involves the making of a small incision in the knee (by an orthopedic surgeon) and the insertion of a fiber-optic instrument, called arthroscope, to enable the surgeon to examine the knee.  In many cases, arthroscopic surgery enables the surgeon to repair the damage using special surgical instruments which are inserted in the knee through separate incisions made.  The surgeon views the entire surgical procedure through the arthroscope itself.

Performed under either a local or general anesthesia, arthroscopic surgery has shown obvious advantages over other types of surgical technique for knee injury.  This is because in arthroscopic surgery, recuperation is easier and quicker, especially since the amount of cutting made during the procedure is less.

Strengthening the leg muscles with suitable exercises before engaging in any athletic game is one way of lowering the risk of knee injury.  A simple elastic bandage, ice packs and rest may be helpful in treating a mild sprain.  But a more severe knee injury definitely requires prompt medical attention, and for which the use of arthroscopic surgery is a likely option.