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Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Recovery Time

By M. Gideon Hoyle ; Updated July 27, 2017

Arthroscopic surgery (arthroscopy) is a minimally-invasive technique that uses a small camera inserted in the body to guide a surgeon’s actions. It is frequently used to treat knee injuries, and typically produces faster recovery times than traditional open surgery.

The Facts

Arthroscopic surgery requires only small incisions in the skin to allow access for a camera and specially-designed surgical instruments. Traditional open surgery requires cutting through a substantial amount of skin to fully expose the knee joint and allow access to the site of repair.

Factors In Recovery

Recovery time from arthroscopy varies with the type of knee repair performed. Generally speaking, simple procedures such as repair of torn cartilage requires shorter recovery periods, while recovery from more complex procedures takes longer.

Typical Recovery Times

After simpler procedures, recovery time may last no longer than six to eight weeks. After complex procedures like knee reconstruction, recovery may take from several months to a year or longer.


Arthroscopic surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Combined with quicker recovery times after surgery, this typically results in fewer disruptions to everyday life.

Additional Considerations

Recovery is partially dependent on future use of the affected knee. People involved in athletics or heavy labor may require longer recovery periods than inactive individuals.

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