Arthroscopy – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to visualize, diagnose, and treat joint problems.

Overview of Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to visualize, diagnose, and treat joint problems. The word “arthroscopy” comes from two Greek words: “arthro” (joint) and “skopein” (to look). Arthroscopic surgery is also commonly referred to as keyhole or minimally invasive surgery.

Arthroscopy is performed using an arthroscope, a small fiber optic camera that is inserted into the joint through a small incision. The arthroscope transmits a magnified image of the inside of the joint to a video monitor, allowing the surgeon to see the structures inside the joint clearly. Arthroscopic surgery is used to treat a wide variety of conditions affecting the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, and ankle.

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Conditions Arthoscopy Treat


Arthroscopic surgery is used to treat a variety of ailments, including the following:

  • Inflammation: Synovitis is an example of an inflammation that affects the tissues surrounding the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and ankle joint.
  • Acute or chronic injuries, including:
    • Tendonitis in the rotator cuffs
    • Shoulder impingement
    • Recurring dislocation in the shoulder
    • Knee meniscal (cartilage) injuries
    • Chondromalacia (cartilage cushion in the knee, wearing or injury)
    • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries with instability in the knee
    • Carpal tunnel pain in the wrist
    • Bone and/or cartilage loose bodies, particularly in the knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle, and wrist

Types of Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy allows surgeons to examine joints without having to make large cuts. Arthroscopy is available in a variety of forms, including:

Elbow Arthroscopy:

Used to treat conditions such as tennis elbow or Golfer’s elbow.

Foot & Ankle Arthroscopy:

Used to treat conditions such as Achilles tendinitis or plantar fasciitis.

Hand & Wrist Arthroscopy:

Can be done to treat carpal tunnel syndrome or thumb arthritis.

Hips Arthroscopy:

Can be used to treat condition such as hip impingement or labral tears.

Knee Arthroscopy:

Can be used to treat conditions such as ACL tears or meniscus tears.

Shoulder Arthroscopy:

Used to treat conditions such as rotator cuff tears or shoulder injury.

How is Arthoscopy Performed?

Shaving and washing the region to be examined with a special surgical scrub prior to surgery lowers the chance of infection. The arthroscopy is generally conducted using local anesthetic, which is injected into the area surrounding the joint to be evaluated.

A spinal or general anaesthetic may be used if further surgery is required. You will go ‘nil by mouth’ (no food or drink) for a period of time before receiving a general anesthetic. The surgeon will make a small incision and pass the arthroscope into the joint via the skin after you are put to sleep. A specialized surgical camera is inserted into the arthroscope, which allows the surgeon to see inside the joint.

The surgeon will then assess the condition of the joint and, if necessary, carry out any repair work that is required. The arthroscope and any other instruments are then removed and the incisions are closed with stitches or clips. You will usually be able to go home the same day.

Recovery after Arthoscopy

After the procedure, you can expect:

  • Healthcare professionals will track your vital signs.
  • You will be given pain medication if necessary.
  • If you don’t feel sick, you can drink liquids right away.
  • Your limb may be raised for a while.
  • Ice packs are also useful for reducing swelling.
  • If no further treatment is required, you may leave the same day if you follow the above instructions.

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