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What is arthroscopy?


Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery used to diagnose and treat joint injuries and diseases. Common conditions include damaged cartilage and ligaments. Arthroscopy involves inserting small surgical tools and an arthroscope (a tiny camera) through small incisions. The arthroscope sends pictures of the inside of your joint to a video screen that your doctor watches while performing surgery.

Arthroscopy has risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having an arthroscopy. 

Other surgical procedures that may be performed

Your doctor may also perform a biopsy. A biopsy is the removal of a sample of cells or tissue. The sample is tested for cancer and other diseases. 

You may need open surgery (arthrotomy) for a joint condition that your doctor cannot treat with arthroscopy. Open surgery involves making a longer incision that allows your doctor to directly view and treat the joint.

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 4, 2013

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Medical References

  1. Arthroscopy. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
  2. The Center for Orthopaedics& Sports Medicine.
  3. Patient Information and Brochures. Arthroscopy Association of America.
  4. Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62.

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