to view an animated version of this procedure.
Arthroscopy is a surgery done to examine a joint visually. Most of the time, it is done on larger joints, like the knee or shoulder. A special tool called an arthroscope is used. It is an instrument that looks like a long tube with a miniature camera on the end. Repairs or corrections to the joint may be done by using the arthroscope and other tools.
Arthroscopy can be done to diagnose an injury or a condition.
—Your lower body will be numbed by putting a numbing medicine in your back.
Description of the Procedure
The doctor will make tiny incisions in the skin along the joint. Special tools will be inserted through the incisions. The tools include the arthroscope. The picture from the arthroscope will show up on a screen so that the doctor can see the inside of your joint. The doctor will use the images to move around other tools that can cut and repair tissue in your joint.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
in the wrist may be treated by loosening the ligament that puts pressure on the nerves.
Once the examination is done, the tools will be removed. The skin may be closed with stitches or clips. The incisions will be covered with a dressing. The fluid or tissue that was removed may be sent to a lab for examination.
Usually less than one hour, but this may be longer if repairs are being done.
Will It Hurt?
Most patients report no pain during the procedure. After the procedure, pain medicines are used to treat pain.
The dressings can sometimes be removed as early as the next morning. When you return home after the procedure, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
You may apply ice for the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery to help with swelling and pain.
While resting in bed, elevate the part of your body that you had surgery on.
Keep the incision area dry for the first 24 hours. After a day, it is usually fine to shower or rinse the area, but soaking the area in water is not recommended.
You may be instructed to
or a cane for the first few days if the surgery was done on a joint in your legs.
Take only non-aspirin containing medicines for minor pain.
If you have stitches or staples, your doctor will remove them in 7-10 days.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s
It takes 4-6 weeks for the joint to recover. You can probably go back to work or resume daily activities within a few days, as long your doctor approves. A specific activity and rehabilitation program may be suggested. This will help speed your recovery and protect future joint function.
Athletes often return to athletic competition within a few weeks.
Repair of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) by arthroscope may require a recovery time of 4-6 months and a more specialized rehabilitation program.
Call Your Doctor
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given after surgery, or which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
Joint pain, fatigue, stiffness, rash, or other new symptoms
Swelling, tingling, pain, or numbness in your toes that is not relieved by elevating your knee above heart level for one hour
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a