DECEMBER 14, 2000
IT may sound very dramatic that Giancarlo Fisichella needs to have knee surgery but with the increasing use of arthroscopy this has ceased to be the problem it once was for sportsmen. Knee problems can now be solved rapidly and without the need for a long recovery period.
An arthroscope is a tiny tube-like viewing instrument with special optic fibres and lenses which produces a high-resolution image of the inside of the knee on a television screen. This allows the surgeon to view the patient's joint without doing any major damage to the tissue around it. He then operates with micro-surgical instruments. Since there are no major surgical cuts there is very little tissue damage and the cuts involved are usually so small that they require only a single stitch. This means that the recovery period from arthroscopic surgery is very short. Usually the patient can return home immediately after the surgery and after a few days of special exercises can resume normal activities.
Benetton says that the Fisichella should be able to take part in the team's pre-season training camp on the island of Lanzarote beginning on January 2.
Fisichella's problem is related to a micro-fracture of the tibia (one of the two bones in the lower leg) which the team thinks occurred in one of the Italian's accidents last year. There were several major crashes including one at Valencia in May, a roll at Spa in August and another large crash at Monza in September. In all probability the problem now is that when that small fracture healed some material was left on the outside of the tibia and that is now causing Fisichella discomfort and pain.
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