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What Is an Arthroscopy Surgery?

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Updated August 14, 2011

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Why Is Arthroscopy Necessary?

Arthroscopic surgery is used to examine the joints of the body to determine either the cause of joint damage or the extent of damage. The surgery is performed if physicians are unable to determine the source of the joint problem. For example, if it suspected that the joint is damaged but other diagnostic testing such at x-rays, CT scans or MRI are unable to determine the nature of the damage, an arthroscopy may be done to make a diagnosis.

A biopsy, the taking of a piece of tissue for examination, can also be performed during arthroscopy. This tissue can be used to make a diagnosis when the tissue is examined under a microscope. Fluid from the joint may also be sampled during the procedure, usually to determine the nature of any infection that may be present.

Current research indicates that arthroscopy of the knee may not be helpful for patients with arthritis, but the determination to have the procedure should be made on a case by base basis in consultation with your surgeon.

Joints Commonly Examined With Arthroscopy

  • Knee
  • Ankle
  • Hip
  • Elbow
  • Wrist
  • Shoulder
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