What is Arthroscopy

The word Arthroscopy originates from the Greek words árthron and skopía, which directly translate to, “looking at the joint.”

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure. It is carried out to inspect, diagnose and treat joint tissue that is injured, degenerated or diseased; joint tissue may also be referred to as menisci, cartilage or as a ligament.

The Procedure

First, the patient is put under general (whole body) or local anesthesia (topical). The surgeon covers the patient with a sterile surgical drape and he uses an antibacterial solution to disinfect the skin of the area being operated on.

Next, two or more small incisions are made near the damaged joint and saline (sterile salt water) is pumped into it to expand it; this creates space for the medical tools that will be used by the surgeon. Through the first opening, an arthroscope is inserted into the joint.

An Arthroscope is a slender telescope fitted with a lens system and fibreoptic illumination; it projects a magnified image, of the inside of a joint, onto a television monitor. The surgeon uses the arthroscope to diagnose or operate injuries and illnesses affecting the joint.

Finally, the surgeon uses the magnified image captured by the arthroscope as a visual guide during the operation. He carries out treatment through the secondary incision. Specially designed medical instruments are utilized during the surgery to treat joint damage created by injury, disease or degeneration. Once the operation is complete, the incision are sutured and a bandage is applied.

Recovery and operation time often varies depending on the extent of the damage and the overall health of the patient.

Arthroscopy is recommended when a patient is not responding to non-surgical treatment.

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Pain (Analgesic) medications
  • Cortisone injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Assistive devices for walking (e.g. cane or crutches)
  • Viscosupplementation injections (to add lubrication into the joint to make joint movement less painful)
  • Weight loss (for overweight and obese patients)
  • Food supplements (e.g. Glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate)
  • Exercise and conditioning

Arthroscopic treatment can be applied in at Josephides Healthcare Clinic to the knee, hip, shoulder and ankle.

The Benefits of Arthroscopic Surgery vs Open Surgery

Reduced recovery time due to smaller incisions

  • Success rate potentially increased; as trauma to the connective tissue of the joint is minor
  • Less painful for patients
  • Minimised surgical scarring
  • Less joint stiffness

Operation and recovery times are affected by the severity of a patient’s condition and his/her overall health.