Arthroscopy: Less invasive surgery for knees and other joints
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat joint problems.
Arthroscopy (ahr-THROS-skuh-pe) is a procedure for diagnosing and treating joint problems. During arthroscopy, a surgeon examines and, in many cases, repairs your injured or diseased joint with the help of an optical instrument called an arthroscope. An arthroscope consists of a light source, a lens system and bundled glass or plastic fibers (fiberoptics) to carry light to the area being examined. These parts are encased in a tube, usually about one-eighth of an inch (4 mm) in diameter. A video camera attached to the arthroscope relays the view from within your joint to a video monitor. Because the arthroscope is so narrow, your surgeon needs only a small incision to place it in your joint.
Arthroscopy is a low-risk procedure. Complications occur in 1 percent to 2 percent of arthroscopies. The risks include:
What you can expect
Although the experience varies depending on why you're having the procedure and on which joint is involved, some aspects of arthroscopy are fairly standard.
You'll receive general, regional or local anesthesia.
After the procedure
Relieve pain and swelling after arthroscopy by elevating the affected joint and applying a pressure bandage and an ice pack.
Last Updated: 04/16/2008
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