Arthroscopic Surgery

Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that uses a narrow lighted pencil-sized instrument called an arthroscope to examine and treat the internal structures of a joint. The arthroscope is inserted through a small incision made in your skin. A camera attached to the scope relays magnified real-time images of the joint structures onto a television monitor for your surgeon to view. These images guide your surgeon throughout the procedure to diagnose abnormalities and injury, and repair and treat the joint condition.

The arthroscopic examination of joints is helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of the following conditions:

  • Synovitis: Inflammation of the lining of the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist or ankle
  • Acute or chronic injury: Injuries such as cartilage tears, tendon tears and carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Osteoarthritis: A type of arthritis caused by cartilage loss in a joint
  • Loose bodies of bone or cartilage that become lodged within the joint

During arthroscopic surgery, either a general, spinal or local anesthesia will be administered depending on the condition. A small incision, the size of a buttonhole, is made, through which the arthroscope is inserted. Two or three additional incisions are made to insert specially designed instruments to repair and treat the damage. After the procedure is completed, the arthroscope is removed and incisions are closed. You will be instructed on incision care, activities to be avoided immediately after surgery and exercises to be performed for faster recovery.

Some of the possible complications after arthroscopy include infection, phlebitis (clotting of blood in the vein), excessive swelling, bleeding, blood vessel or nerve damage, and instrument breakage.


It may take several weeks for the puncture wounds to heal and the joint to recover completely. A rehabilitation program may be advised for a speedy recovery of normal joint function. You can resume normal activities within a few days.