Arthroscopy is a procedure for diagnosing and treating joint problems. It is done by inserting a narrow tube attached to a fiber-optic video camera through a small incision — about the size of a buttonhole. The view inside the joint is transmitted to a high-definition video monitor. Arthroscopy allows the surgeon to see inside the joint without making a large incision. Surgeons can even repair some types of joint damage during arthroscopy, with pencil-thin surgical instruments inserted through additional small incisions.

Why it’s done

We do arthroscopy to help diagnose and treat a variety of joint conditions, most commonly those affecting the:

  • Knee
  • Shoulder
  • Elbow
  • Hip

We often turn to arthroscopy if radiography and other imaging studies have left some diagnostic questions unanswered.

Conditions treated with arthroscopy include:

  • Loose bone fragments
  • Damaged or torn cartilage
  • Inflamed joint linings
  • Torn ligaments
  • Scarring within joints