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So you’ve been listed for an arthroscopy? Or you’ve heard this term and wonder what it means?

Well, in lay terms an arthroscopy is typically referred to as keyhole surgery.

Instead of the surgeon making a big incision to access your injury, arthroscopic surgery enables the surgeon to see inside your joint by inserting a small camera (arthroscope) through a very small incision. They use the appropriate surgical instrument(s) to remove or repair the damaged structure(s), which is inserted in to the other side of your joint. Below is a picture of arthroscopic surgery of the knee.

So why have you been listed for an arthroscopy? Well, an arthroscopy can be used to both to treat and diagnose problems within a joint.


Some of the reasons why surgeons typically performed this surgery are to:

  • Remove or repair damaged meniscus (also referred to as cartilage)
  • Repair damaged bone lining (hyaline cartilage)
  • Remove fragments of loose bone, cartilage or ligament
  • Wash-out your joint to get rid of any debris


Also, arthroscopy can offer advantages over open surgery such as:

  • Faster healing time
  • Lower risk of infection
  • You can go home sooner
  • You’re likely to be able to resume normal activities more quickly

You’ll usually have a general anaesthetic and most patients go home the same day.


Recovery & Physiotherapy

The time it takes to recover from an arthroscopy can vary depending on the joint involved and which procedure was necessary.

On discharge from hospital the you should receive some advice from a physiotherapist and a list of exercises to perform at home.

Whilst you’re waiting for your surgery and as a result of your injury you might find that you quite dramatically reduce your normal levels of physical activity – this can be due to you experiencing pain, or, just being uncertain about what’s safe to do.

It is really important to follow a structured exercise plan following surgery to rehabilitate the muscle and joint and to avoid secondary knee problems, such as anterior knee pain (see here to find out what anterior knee pain is).  Ideally, you should start before your surgery to get your muscles in the best shape possible to help you cope with and recover faster from the surgery.

Have questions? Get in touch here and see my news item about anterior knee pain.


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