Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure during which the internal structure of a joint is examined for diagnosis and treatment of problems inside the joint. In arthroscopic examination, a small incision is made in the patient’s skin through which pencil-sized instruments that have a small lens and lighting system (arthroscope) are passed. The arthroscope magnifies and illuminates the structures of the joint with the light that is transmitted through fiber optics. It is attached to a television camera and the interior of the joint is seen on the television monitor.
Arthroscopic examination of joints is helpful in diagnosis and treatment of the following conditions:
During arthroscopic surgery, anesthesia will be given. A small incision of the size of a buttonhole is made through which the arthroscope is inserted. Other accessory incisions will be made through which specially designed instruments are inserted. After the procedure is completed arthroscope is removed and incisions are closed. You may be instructed about the incision care, activities to be avoided and exercises to be performed for faster recovery.
Some of the rare but potential complications after arthroscopy include infection, blood clots, excessive swelling, bleeding, blood vessel or nerve damage, persistent numbness, and instrument breakage.
It may take several months for the puncture wounds to heal and the joint to recover completely. A rehabilitation program is typically advised for a speedy recovery of normal joint function. Most people are able to go back to work within a few days of arthroscopic surgery.