Arthroscopy is a common surgical procedure that gives the surgeon a clear view of the inside of the knee or hip, enabling the surgeon to accurately diagnose and treat knee problems.
During the procedure, a small incision is made and the arthroscope - about the size of a pencil - is inserted. The camera sends images of the joint to a television monitor, where your surgeon will be able to see the internal structures.
While the arthroscope is inside your joint, the surgeon may find tissue that needs to be repaired or removed. If this happens, other small incisions are made around the joint so surgical instruments can be inserted.
Diagnosis and treatment
The first step of arthroscopy is diagnosing your condition. If treatment is necessary, it can be performed on the spot.
The entire procedure usually lasts between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on your surgeon's findings. You can go home within one to two hours, though someone will need to drive you home.
Some of the most common procedures performed during an arthroscopy include:
- Removing inflamed tissue
- Trimming articular cartilage
- Removing loose cartilage or bone fragments
- Reconstructing a torn anterior cruciate ligament
- Repairing or removing a torn meniscus
The recovery time following knee or hip arthroscopy is shorter than traditional open surgery. You can return to most physical activities within six to eight weeks, if not sooner.
Intense or high impact physical activity, however, should be avoided until you are fully healed.
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