(Ed’s note: When news broke this afternoon that Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski went under the knife to his have his knee scoped, our resident health and fitness expert Cameron Walsh jumped into action to explain what exactly goes on during an arthroscopic knee procedure.)
By Cameron Walsh
Mr Rafalski underwent an arthroscope on his knee on the 12th of October, I figured since these are such a common occurrence these days I would go over the operation quickly. The reason that the Wings blueliner will be back on the ice so quickly is the incisions (typically around 5mm in diameter) into the knee are so small the surgery is much less invasive than an open knee surgery. This is why the Red Wings are expecting him back early November at the latest.
The reason for the operation is Rafalski has some loose particles, according to GM Ken Holland, how they got there, I couldn’t find out any more information, it is normally just wear and tear, and well Rafalski has been on the ice and banged around now since the 1999-2000 season in the NHL and 9 seasons before that, so the knees can take a bit of a beating. Especially for a defenseman who is considered a touch undersized.
Just quickly this style of operation is used for other knee disorders some of these you will find common place in the world of hockey others more so in other sports or just general life:
• Cruciate ligament tears
• Meniscal tears
• Removal of loose fragments of bone or cartilage
• Removal of cysts
• Reconstruction of the Anterior Cruciate ligament
• Abnormal alignment or instability of the knee-cap
Here is a simple diagram showing how a ‘scope’ can be conducted, you will note there will only need to be 3 small incisions into the knee for the procedure.