Megastar Chiranjeevi undergoes ‘knee wash’ surgery. We tell you why this surgery is done

What is 'knee wash' surgery that Telugu actor Chiranjeevi is undergoing? Read to know more about this minimally invasive type of surgery.

ByChetana Belagere

Published Aug 18, 2023 | 8:00 AM Updated Aug 18, 2023 | 8:00 AM

Arthroscopic lavage, simply called 'knee wash' surgery, is a minimally-invasive procedure. (Commons)

Bhola Shankar star Chiranjeevi recently underwent arthroscopic knee wash treatment at a distinguished medical centre in New Delhi. As soon as the news of his knee surgery hit social media, several fans and well-wishers wished him a speedy recovery.

Popularly known as “knee wash surgery”, it is a revolutionary surgical procedure designed to combat knee joint infections with remarkable precision and efficiency.

With some of his curious fans wondering what the surgery is all about, South First speaks to experts to explain the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options of this surgery.

“What Chiranjeevi has undergone is a procedure called arthroscopic lavage. It is a minimally-invasive procedure called knee joint lavage, where we make two small incisions near the knee, minimising the need for extensive stitches, and ensuring a less invasive approach,” said Dr Krishna Kumar MS, Joint Replacement and Arthroscopy Surgeon, Hosmat Hospital, Bengaluru.

Also Read: Don’t ignore joint pain in children — it could be juvenile arthritis

What is knee wash surgery?

This technique involves removing infection within the knee joint and replacing it with fresh fluid.

Arthroscopic knee joint lavage. (Wiley Online Library)

Arthroscopic knee joint lavage. (Wiley Online Library)

“Our focus is primarily on ligament surgeries, including some complex cases like a washout. This procedure is performed in two main scenarios. One scenario involves infections,” Dr Krishna Kumar elaborates.

He adds, “We make a hole to wash out the infection. It’s a crucial step in clearing the symptoms. The other situation is when there’s inflammation, especially in the early stages of arthritis. We perform a washout to reduce inflammation and alleviate joint pain.”

The other could also be during early arthritis, when the person cannot withstand the pain. Then this treatment will help the person to ease the pain for at least six months. Post this, if necessary, the patient can opt for knee replacement surgery, Dr Kumar explains.

When other treatments do not yield the desired results, arthroscopic knee wash treatment becomes a viable option. This procedure provides a boost to the joint’s healing process by introducing fresh fluid between the joint.

Also Read: How a Hyderabad hospital treated an aplastic anaemia patient 

Symptoms of knee infection

Symptoms of knee joint infection. (MedlinePlus)

Symptoms of knee joint infection. (MedlinePlus)

Doctors explain that the key symptom of a knee infection is usually intense and persistent pain in the knee joint, often worsening with movement or pressure.

There could also be noticeable swelling, redness around the area, with difficulty in moving the affected knee due to stiffness. If there is an infection, the person could also be experiencing a fever and chills, explains Dr Kumar. Additionally, the knee may feel warm to the touch and be tender upon palpation.

Dr Kumar clarifies, “Symptoms vary. In cases of inflammation, there may be pain, while infections often show signs of swelling and sometimes no pain. Infections require immediate action. We flush out the infection and then administer antibiotics.”

How does the joint get infected?

Dr Kumar explains, “Certain factors contribute to the risk of knee joint infections. Low immunity, often seen in conditions like diabetes or due to inadequate diet, is a primary cause. Additionally, injuries or wounds around the knee can lead to infections. Rarely, infections from other sources can also spread to the knee joint.”

When we ask about the frequency of such infections, Dr Kumar states, “Knee joint infections are relatively rare, affecting less than 1 percent of people and only about 0.01 percent of cases will opt for this procedure.”

Also Read: Constant fatigue even after eating? Check your insulin levels now

Recovery after knee wash surgery

As for recovery, Dr Kumar assures, “Recovery is remarkably fast. Patients can walk from the next day itself, as the procedure is minimally invasive. They may stay in the hospital for a short while and over the first three weeks, they’ll need to follow specific exercises. Within about six weeks, most patients return to normal activity.”

The recovery period following arthroscopic knee wash treatment can vary based on individual factors and the severity of the infection. Generally, patients can expect a smoother and swifter recovery compared to traditional open surgeries.

Rehabilitation, physiotherapy, and adherence to post-operative instructions play a pivotal role in optimising recovery. Many patients are able to resume light activities within a few weeks, with more strenuous activities gradually being reintroduced under medical guidance.

Also Read: Dry eyes troubling you? Probiotics could be the answer