Arthroscopy: What It Is, And What It’s Used to Accomplish

Advances in medical technology now allow for less invasive and more efficient surgical procedures to diagnose, treat, and monitor a variety of conditions. One such procedure is arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows an orthopedic specialist to look inside joints without having to perform open surgery.


Common sites of arthroscopic procedures are:42160663_l

  • Knees
  • Hips
  • Shoulders
  • Elbows
  • Wrists
  • Ankles


Arthroscopy does require that the patient is under anesthesia. Still, arthroscopies can be performed in an outpatient setting, and the patient can return home shortly after the procedure. Through a small incision at the site of the joint in question, the surgeon inserts a pencil-sized instrument that contains lighting and a camera. This enables the surgeon to see inside the joint to examine the bone, cartilage, and ligaments in the joint.


Arthroscopy offers a more accurate diagnosis than X-rays and other traditional diagnostic measures. Often, corrective surgeries can be performed through additional incisions around the joint. In more sever cases the surgeon may determine that open surgery is needed.


The following are medical conditions that may require an endoscopic procedure:

  • Joints are made up of bones, muscle, ligaments, and cartilage. Inflammation to joints can occur due to infection, sprain, strain, fracture, and a variety of other factors impacting these different parts of the joint, whether individually or all together. Inflammation can also lead to conditions such as a bone spur, which can often be corrected through arthroscopy.
  • A sports injury or some other kind of physical damage to joints can result in a variety of conditions such as a dislocation or tear. One common joint injury that arthroscopy is employed to correct is a meniscus tear. Common in older adults and athletes, a meniscus tear results from twisting the body quickly with the foot plants firmly and can occur as a result of lifting something heavy or while playing sports.
  • Arthroscopy, sometimes in combination with other procedures, can be used to treat some conditions associated with arthritis, such as rotator cuff surgery or removal of loose bone or cartilage in joints.


To learn more about arthroscopy and to find out if it is the right alternative to open surgery for you, request an appointment with an orthopedic specialist at Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute.