Arthroscopy is a common surgical procedure in which a joint (arthro-) is viewed (-scopy) using a small camera. Arthroscopy gives doctors a clear view of the inside of the knee. This helps them diagnose and treat knee problems.
Technical advances have led to high definition monitors and high resolution cameras. These and other improvements have made arthroscopy a very effective tool for treating knee problems. According to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, more than 4 million knee arthroscopies are performed worldwide each year.
Arthroscopy is done through small incisions. During the procedure, your orthopaedic surgeon inserts the arthroscope (a small camera instrument about the size of a pencil) into your knee joint. The arthroscope sends the image to a television monitor. On the monitor, your surgeon can see the structures of the knee in great detail.
Your surgeon can use arthroscopy to feel, repair or remove damaged tissue. To do this, small surgical instruments are inserted through other incisions around your knee.
If you decide to have knee arthroscopy, you may need a complete physical examination with your family physician before surgery. He or she will assess your health and identify any problems that could interfere with your surgery.
Before surgery, tell your orthopaedic surgeon about any medications or supplements that you take. He or she will tell you which medicines you must stop taking before surgery.
To help plan your procedure, your orthopaedic surgeon may order pre-operative tests. These may include blood counts or an EKG (electrocardiogram).