Arthroscopy is a specialized surgical procedure that orthopaedic surgeons use to visualize, diagnose and treat problems inside a joint.
After a thorough medical history, physical examination, and X-rays or other imaging, a doctor may recommend arthroscopy. The procedure involves making small incisions around the joint and inserting a small, high-powered fiber optic camera and thin instruments. The camera is hooked to a monitor where the doctor can see exactly what is happening in the joint. Originally, arthroscopy was used just for visualization, but as engineering developed smaller, well-controlled instruments, repair procedures can be performed.
Six joints are most frequently analyzed with arthroscopy: knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle, hip, and wrist. Reasons for arthroscopy include inflammation, or acute or chronic injury. Benefits of arthroscopy include reduced scarring, swelling and pain. In some cases, like rotator cuff surgery, a doctor may combine arthroscopic surgery and traditional open surgery.
Arthroscopy is followed by a period of rest, icing the area and pain management. In most cases some type of physical therapy or rehabilitation is prescribed to increase strength and functionality of the affected joint.Previous Page Last Review Date: January 5, 2018