Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure orthopaedic surgeons use to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint.

The word arthroscopy comes from two Greek words, "arthro" (joint) and "skopein" (to look). The term literally means "to look within the joint."

In an arthroscopic examination, an orthopaedic surgeon makes a small incision in the patient's skin and then inserts pencil-sized instruments that contain a small lens and lighting system to magnify and illuminate the structures inside the joint. Light is transmitted through fiber optics to the end of the arthroscope that is inserted into the joint.

When Knee Arthroscopy is Recommended

Your doctor may recommend knee arthroscopy if you have a painful condition that does not respond to nonsurgical treatment. Nonsurgical treatment includes rest, physical therapy, and medications or injections that can reduce inflammation.

Knee arthroscopy may relieve painful symptoms of many problems that damage the cartilage surfaces and other soft tissues surrounding the joint.

Common arthroscopic procedures for the knee include:
  1. Removal or repair of a torn meniscus
  2. Reconstruction of a torn anterior cruciate ligament
  3. Removal of inflamed synovial tissue
  4. Trimming of damaged articular cartilage
  5. Removal of loose fragments of bone or cartilage
  6. Treatment of patella (kneecap) problems
  7. Treatment of knee sepsis (infection)

Preparing for Surgery

Evaluations and Tests- Your orthopaedic surgeon may recommend that you see your primary doctor to assess your general health before your surgery. He or she will identify any problems that may interfere with the procedure. If you have certain health risks, a more extensive evaluation may be necessary before your surgery.

Admissions Instructions If you are generally healthy, your knee arthroscopy will most likely be performed as an outpatient. This means you will not need to stay overnight at the hospital.

Anesthesia Before your surgery, a member of the anesthesia team will talk with you. Knee arthroscopy can be performed under local, regiona.

What is recovery like after arthroscopy?

The small puncture wounds take several days to heal. The operative dressing can usually be removed the morning after surgery and adhesive strips can be applied to cover the small healing incisions.

Although the puncture wounds are small and pain in the joint that underwent arthroscopy is minimal, it takes several weeks for the joint to maximally recover. A specific activity and rehabilitation program may be suggested to speed your recover and protect future joint function.

How is arthroscopy performed?

Arthroscopic surgery, although much easier in terms of recovery than "open" surgery, still requires the use of anesthetics and the special equipment in a hospital operating room or outpatient surgical suite. You will be given a general, spinal, or a local anesthetic, depending on the joint or suspected problem.

A small incision (about the size of a buttonhole) will be made to insert the arthroscope. Several other incisions may be made to see other parts of the joint or insert other instruments.