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Arthroscopy is a type of minimally invasive surgery performed to evaluate and treat joint problems. During arthroscopic surgery, a surgeon uses a small tool, called an arthroscope, with a small camera attached to the end to get an accurate picture of the inside of a joint. A surgeon may view the areas in the joint to diagnose a problem, or make repairs to the joint.
Am I a Candidate for Arthroscopy?
Your doctor may recommend an arthroscopic procedure if noninvasive treatments have not successfully treated your joint problem. Doctors at Dignity Health use arthroscopy to diagnose and treat the following conditions:
- inflammation, including rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis, and synovitis
- infections or septic arthritis in the joint
- injuries to the joint, including dislocations, fractures, tendon problems, overuse injuries, and torn cartilage
- joint symptoms that can’t be explained, such as swelling, pain, instability, locking, stiffness, grinding, or catching
- loose objects, such as bone fragments and pieces of cartilage
- osteoarthritis, caused by the wear and tear on bones and cartilage
If you or a loved one is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, talk with a doctor at Dignity Health. Our orthopedic experts can perform arthroscopy to diagnose joint problems and heal chronic conditions.
What to Expect with Arthroscopy at Dignity Health
Arthroscopy is performed in a Dignity Health hospital or outpatient surgery center. In most cases, you will be given anesthesia so you will not feel any pain during the surgery. For this minimally invasive procedure, your surgeon will make at least two small incisions in the joint. Through these incisions, the surgeon will insert the arthroscope and other instruments needed to diagnose a problem or make repairs. The length of the procedure will depend on what needs to be done.
Most people are able to return home several hours after arthroscopy. You may need a splint, sling, or crutches for a while to stabilize your joint while it heals. Physical therapy will help strengthen the muscles around your joint and help improve your range of motion. Your health care provider will let you know when it will be safe to return to normal, daily activities. A full recovery from arthroscopy may take anywhere from several weeks to months, depending on your specific condition.