What is an arthroscopy?

Looking into your knee joint

Arthroscopy is a common orthopaedic surgery procedure, used to visualize, diagnose and treat problems inside a joint.

Your surgeon makes a small incision and inserts an instrument the size of a pencil. This contains a small camera and lighting system to magnify and illuminate the structures inside your knee joint.

Depending upon your problem, your surgeon may perform some of the following procedures during an arthroscopy:

  • Repair torn cartilage (meniscus)
  • Smooth out flaps and irregularities in the joint surface (chindroplasty)
  • Reconstruct anterior cruciate ligament in knee
  • Remove inflamed lining (synovium )
  • Repair torn ligaments
  • Remove loose bone or cartilage.

What are the risks of arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is more straightforward than knee replacement surgery and your recovery should be easier. It also allows a more complete diagnosis to be made. It is usually performed as a day surgery procedure.

Complications are infrequent and are usually minor andtreatable. They include infection, blood clots, excessive swelling or bleeding, damage to blood vessels or nerves and instrument breakage.1

1. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Arthroscopy/Pages/Complications.aspx , accessed May 2013 

Next Steps

Contact your GP or health professional to discuss your options