Arthroscopy is a “keyhole” operation that is used to look inside and treat joints, i.e. knee joint. The word arthroscopy comes from two Greek words, “arthro” ( joint) and “skopein” (to look). The term arthroscopy means “ to look within the joint”.
It is performed through a very small incision in the skin, using a narrow telescope attached to a video camera. Compared to open surgery, which involves a larger incision. Keyhole surgery and is less painful, carries less risk of infection, and enables people to recover more quickly.
An arthroscopy may be used to investigate knee problems, treat conditions such as inflammation, take small samples of tissue or repair damage to tissues and cartilage. The procedures can be done as a day case – without the need for an overnight stay in hospital.
Disease and injuries can damage bones, cartilage, ligaments, muscles and tendons. Some of the most common conditions found during arthroscopic examination of the joints are:
Anterior Cruciate ligament tears with instability
Chondromalacia (wearing or injury of cartilage cushion)
Injury – acute or chronic
Loose Bodies – small pieces of broken cartilage ( in the knee joint)
Mal alignment of the knee cap ( patella)
Meniscal (cartilage tears)
Synovitis – inflamed lining (synovium) in knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist or ankle
Choosing An Arthroscopy
Not everyone who has knee problems will need to have an arthroscopy. In many cases, the problem can be diagnosed by non-surgical methods such as MRI ( magnetic resonance imaging) and some problems can be treated using physiotherapy.