Through the early years of orthopedics, if a patient had an injury to the joint surface or cushioning meniscal cartilage structures in the knee, the only treatment available was an open surgery, called an arthrotomy. Unfortunately, this resulted in removal of a large amount of tissue that lead to early arthritic change in the joint and severe and progressive pain. With advances in technology, the incidence of open surgery became steadily replaced by surgery done by arthroscopy. Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that orthopedic surgeons use to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside of a joint. The word arthroscopy comes from the Greek words, “arthro” (joint) and “skopein” (to look). The term literally means to "look within the joint.” During the knee arthroscopy, we will make 2-3 tiny incisions to insert the pencil-sized instruments. One of these instruments contains a small lens and lighting system to magnify and illuminate the structures inside the joint. By attaching the arthroscope to a miniature high-definition camera, we can visualize and examine the inside the joint. We can examine the bones, cartilage, and ligaments of the knee and repair or correct various problems or injuries. Arthroscopy is also used in conjunction with limited open surgical procedures for ligament repairs and meniscal repairs, when possible. The procedure is done as an outpatient and most folks are up and around in a few days, and back to their regular activities in a few weeks.
Knee Arthroscopy: General Info (PDF)