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What is Arthroscopy?

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

What is arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a way of examining a joint. What is done during an arthroscopy? During an arthroscopy, the operating surgeon can use a specialized camera system to view the joint from the inside and operate on it if necessary. The physician inserts a probe holding a miniature camera called an arthroscope into the joint through an incision just a few millimeters in size. To do so, the physician uses a thin tube with a video camera attached to the end. Generally, a light source and a flushing and suction device are also attached to the tube to help the physician view all of the joint structures without restriction. The camera image is transmitted to a monitor so that the operating physician can view the joint in detail. Specialized instruments can also be used for arthroscopy. If the physician finds any areas in need of treatment during the arthroscopy, they can insert thin instruments such as retractors, shears, blades or motorized milling tools through additional small incisions to treat the pathological areas. Fluid applied using a small hose rinses out the joint, while a second hose ensures the rinsing fluid is continuously eliminated. This helps the physician dispose of blood and removed material. At the end of the operation, the physician sews up the small incisions and applies a bandage. Arthroscopy can be conducted as an inpatient or outpatient procedure. This depends partially on the patient’s age and general state of health, as well as the expected procedure. Frequently, an inpatient stay of two to three days is recommended for a knee arthroscopy. Depending on the patient’s symptoms, the arthroscopy can be conducted under full or partial anesthesia.

What does arthroscopy mean for the patient?

What does arthroscopy mean, and when is it used? Arthroscopy is used to treat a wide range of different joint disorders. Arthroscopic examinations of the knee joint – known as knee arthroscopy – are particularly common. What is a knee arthroscopy? Knee arthroscopy can be used to both diagnose and treat degenerative and accident-related injuries. Frequent applications include: Meniscus injuries, cartilage damage, loose joint bodies (small fragments of dislodged cartilage), torn tendons, ligaments and muscles (such as cruciate ligament ruptures), scar tissue, inflammation of the joint mucosa (such as bursitis) and gonarthrosis (the arthrosis of the knee joint) However, arthroscopic examinations are often conducted on the shoulder joint as well, a particularly complex and sensitive joint. Improved technology and minute modern instruments can be used to conduct arthroscopy on wrist, toe and even metacarpophalangeal joints. Even extensive or complex operations on large joints are frequently conducted using arthroscopy.

Arthroscopy is primarily used to address joint problems and examine joint injuries. The most frequent applications are: Injuries or changes resulting from an accident, degenerative changes (joint wear) such as arthrosis and inflammatory changes. During arthroscopy, the physician can complete necessary operations using additional instruments (see above), most of which are inserted into the

joint through secondary incisions. This process is also known as minimally invasive surgery or keyhole surgery. It has the advantage over open surgical procedures that it protects healthy joint structures and puts less strain on the patient’s body. The risk of infection is lower, and the patient generally experiences less pain after the operation. Healing time is reduced significantly, helping the patient to be mobilized earlier and place weight on the joint earlier as well. This allows the patient to return to their everyday activities more quickly.

Risks associated with arthroscopy.

Arthroscopic operations are generally low-risk. The primary general risks are injuries to cartilage, cutaneous nerves or small vessels, thrombosis and infection. After an arthroscopic operation, patients should receive individualized follow-up treatment based on their specific needs. The large number of different kinds of operations and the different operating techniques make it impossible to provide any general recommendation for follow-up treatment. In simple meniscus or cartilage operations, the joint can be moved freely just a few days after the operation, and load can often be placed on the joint once again quickly as well. In some cases, manual lymph drainage or physical therapy will be required to address swelling or movement problems. Just as with almost all operations on the lower extremities, measures to prevent thrombosis are recommended until the patient is once again able to load the joint as normal. Cooling, protecting, and elevating the joint for the first few days after the operation are recommended in order to prevent excessive swelling. Often, joints may only be partially loaded for several weeks following cruciate ligament surgery, tendon sutures and other complex treatments. Here as well, however, there is no uniform treatment.

Arthroscopy and arthroscopic operations are some of the most frequently-used patient treatments today, and can often be conducted on an outpatient basis. Thanks to improved technology and greater experience, ever more complex operations can be conducted using keyhole surgery techniques.

As a manufacturer of medical technology products, we have the appropriate products as well as the necessary know-how:


Orthopädische Untersuchung des Knies – (accessed: 12/15/2020)

Kniegelenksarthroskopie – (accessed: 12/15/2020)

Arthroskopie – (accessed: 12/15/2020)

Gelenkspiegelung mit Operationen - (accessed: 12/15/2020)

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