Arthroscopy is a procedure that uses an arthro-scope (a viewing tube with a tiny videocamera at its tip) to examine, diagnose, and treat joint problems. The procedure is usually done on the knee joint, but it can be performed on other joints, such as the shoulder, elbow, ankle, hip, and wrist. For arthroscopic surgery, the surgeon makes a small incision and inserts the arthro-scope directly into the joint. The procedure can be observed on a video monitor and videotaped. Surgical instruments are inserted into the joint through other small incisions. Any loose bone, cartilage, or other material in the joint also can be removed. A biopsy (removal of a small piece of tissue from the joint for examination under a microscope) can be easily performed during arthroscopy.

Arthroscopic surgery is performed to examine and repair the following:

  • torn rotator cuff (the muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint)
  • torn meniscus (a crescent-shaped disk of cartilage found in the knee joint)
  • torn or damaged ligaments
  • torn cartilage
  • inflamed tendon sheaths

General, local, or spinal anesthesia is used, depending on the joint. Most people do not require strong pain medication afterward and can usually resume light normal activities within a few days. However, after arthroscopic knee surgery, a person must wear a knee brace and have physical therapy on the joint for several weeks or months to promote healing and prevent further injury.

Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
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