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Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure orthopedic surgeons use to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint. Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that allows doctors to view the knee joint without making a large incision (cut) through the skin and other soft tissues. During arthroscopy, your surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into your joint. The camera displays pictures on a video monitor, and your surgeon uses these images to guide miniature surgical instruments.
Because the arthroscope and surgical instruments are thin, your surgeon can use very small incisions, rather than the larger incision needed for open surgery. This results in less pain for patients, less joint stiffness, and often shortens the time it takes to recover and return to favorite activities. The joint most often examined using arthroscopy is the knee and shoulder. However, arthroscopy can be used in other joints.


Arthroscopic surgery mostly takes between 30 minutes and two hours, depending on the procedure.


During an arthroscopic surgery, you will be given a general, regional, or a local anesthetic, depending on the joint or suspected problem. The type of anesthesia will depend on the specific procedure being performed and your medical condition.


  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Infection
  • Phlebitis (blood clots of a vein)
  • Excessive swelling or bleeding


Everyone recovers from arthroscopy differently. The time it takes you to recover will depend on many things, including whether you had any treatment during your knee or shoulder surgery. It takes most individuals two to six weeks to recover from arthroscopy. You may not be able to do certain sports for up to six months. Your surgeon or physiotherapist will give you more information about what you can do. Your physiotherapist may recommend some exercises for you that you can do at home. You may have physiotherapy for several weeks after your operation. You can start with some gentle exercise, such as walking. After a week or two, you may be able to go for longer walks, swim or have a gentle cycle. Don’t do any high-impact exercises, such as running, for at least six weeks.

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