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What Is an Arthroscopy Surgery?

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Updated August 14, 2011

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Arthroscopy Surgery
Arthroscopy Surgery On the Knee

Arthroscopy of the Knee

Image: © ADAM

Arthroscopy, or arthroscopic surgery, is an orthopedic procedure that examines the joints of the body. It is commonly referred to as a “scope," as in “I’m going to have my knee scoped.” Instead of using a large incision to inspect damage to a joint, the procedure uses tiny incisions into which a small camera (arthroscope) is inserted. The surgeon can then inspect the joint and take photos or samples of the tissue there to determine the extent or type of damage that is occurring.

This procedure may be used along with additional surgical techniques. For example, if the surgeon performs arthroscopy on a shoulder joint and determines that the rotator cuff has been torn, a rotator cuff repair may be added to the surgery.

One of the benefits of this minimally invasive approach is that this surgery is typically done on an outpatient basis, with the patient returning home the same day. Recovery is usually quicker than with comparable procedures performed “open” with a much larger incision.

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