Arthroscopy for Joint Pain
The arthroscope is a telescope with a tiny light and video camera, inserted through a small incision and connected to a video monitor. The surgeon views the monitor to identify and treat areas needing repair.
Today arthroscopy is typically used to remove painful free-floating pieces of bone and other tissue in the knee. These loose bodies float between the joint surfaces and are like gravel in a ball bearing, wearing down the surface of the joint as it moves.
Arthroscopic joint surgery may be done in a surgical clinic or a hospital, but usually does not require an overnight hospital stay.
Benefits and Risks of Arthroscopy
Compared with more invasive forms of joint surgery, arthroscopy offers important benefits, including:
Reduced surgery time
Less tissue damage and blood loss
Less pain after surgery
Lower risk of complications
Arthroscopic joint surgery carries few risks, mainly those associated with any type of surgery. The risks you should discuss with your surgeon include:
A reaction to anesthesia
Bleeding inside the joint, or a blood clot
Blood vessel or nerve damage
Damage to cartilage, muscles, ligaments, or tendons
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