Complications in knee arthroscopy

Sports Medicine


All simple arthroscopic procedures during 1999 through 2001 performed at Baerum community hospital were retrospectively examined. Procedures were excluded when being part of more complex procedures. A total of 876 procedures performed on 785 patients were left for examination. Complications were registered from the patient record and all received a written questionnaire or phone call. The answer was obtained from 97.6%. The overall complications rate was low, giving total of 5.00%. A total of 0.68% of the complications had therapeutic consequences. There were two superficial infections, one thromboembolic event/pulmonary embolus and one reoperation due to scar tissue. Other complications were considered minor, and had none or little consequence for the patient comprising preoperative bradycardial episodes, asthmatic events, subcutaneous infusion of total intravenous anaesthetics (TIVA), instrument breakage and conversion to arthrotomi. Postoperatively registered complications included swelling, haemarthros, portal bleeding and fistulation, temporary sensory loss and longstanding pain. Duration of surgery was the only predicting factor for postoperative complications. Simple arthroscopic surgery is safe and has few serious complications. The use of TIVA or tourniquet does not increase the morbidity or complication rate, and prophylaxis against thromboembolism was not necessary.


Arthroscopy Knee Complications Thromboembolic event Anaesthetics 


  1. 1.
    Allum R (2003) Complications of arthroscopic reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament. J Bone Joint Surg Br 85(1):12–16PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Allum R (2002) Complications of arthroscopy of the knee. J Bone Joint Surg Br 84(7):937–945PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Babcock HM, Matava MJ, Fraser V (2002) Postarthroscopy surgical site infections: review of the literature. Clin Infect Dis 34(1):65–71PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Casati A, Cappelleri G, Aldegheri G, Marchetti C, Messina M, De Ponti A (2004) Total intravenous anesthesia, spinal anesthesia or combined sciatic-femoral nerve block for outpatient knee arthroscopy. Minerva Anestesiol 70(6):493–502PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Forssblad M, Jacobson E, Weidenhielm L (2004) Knee arthroscopy with different anesthesia methods: a comparison of efficacy and cost. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 12(5):344–349PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kearon C (2001) Natural history of venous thromboembolism. Semin Vasc Med 1(1):27–38PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kim TK, Savino RM, McFarland EG, Cosgarea AJ (2002) Neurovascular complications of knee arthroscopy. Am J Sports Med 30(4):619–629PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Macdonald PS, Kahn SR, Miller N, Obrand D (2003) Short-term natural history of isolated gastrocnemius and soleal vein thrombosis. J Vasc Surg 37(3):523–527PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Michot M., Conen D, Holtz D, Erni D, Zumstein MD, Ruflin GB, Renner N (2002) Prevention of deep-vein thrombosis in ambulatory arthroscopic knee surgery: a randomized trial of prophylaxis with low-molecular weight heparin. Arthroscopy 18(3):257–263PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Rozencwaig R, Shilt JS, Ochsner JL Jr (1996) Fatal pulmonary embolus after knee arthroscopy. Arthroscopy 12(2):240–241PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Sherman OH, Fox JM, Snyder SJ, Del Pizzo W, Friedman MJ, Ferkel RD, Lawley MJ (1986) Arthroscopy—”no-problem surgery”. An analysis of complications in two thousand six hundred and forty cases. J Bone Joint Surg Am 68(2):256–265PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sintefhealth (2003) National Patient Registration, Orthopaedic procedures.
  13. 13.
    Wirth T, Schneider B, Misselwitz F, Lomb M, Tuylu H, Egbring R, Griss P (2001) Prevention of venous thromboembolism after knee arthroscopy with low-molecular weight heparin (reviparin): results of a randomized controlled trial. Arthroscopy 17(4):393–399PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    AANA (1986) Complications in arthroscopy: the knee and other joints. Committee on Complications of the Arthroscopy Association of North America. Arthroscopy 2(4):253–258Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    AANA (1985) Complications of arthroscopy and arthroscopic surgery: results of a national survey. Committee on Complications of Arthroscopy Association of North America. Arthroscopy 1(4):214–220Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Orthopaedic DepartmentBaerum HospitalRudNorway
  2. 2.Orthopaedic DepartmentNational HospitalOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations