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Knee Arthroscopy

Knee Arthroscopy

Alternate Names

  • diagnostic knee arthroscopy
  • arthroscopic knee exploration


Knee arthroscopy is a common procedure used to diagnose and treat knee injuries. The surgeon examines the knee with an instrument called an arthroscope, a pencil-sized tube with a light and camera attached to the end of it. It is inserted into a cut in the knee. An image of the inside of the knee is then seen on a television screen. The surgeon can view the entire knee joint, which may allow him or her to repair certain injuries.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

Knee arthroscopy is used to diagnose the cause of pain, swelling, tenderness, or weakness in a person's knee.
Arthroscopy may be recommended for a person with:
  • a torn knee cartilage
  • a damaged kneecap
  • a damaged ligament
  • an inflamed or damaged lining of the joint

How is the procedure performed?

Knee arthroscopy is usually done in a same day surgery center. This means the person can go home the same day as the procedure. For this procedure, a person can be put to sleep with general anesthesia or the knee can be numbed with local (injected) anesthetic.
Several small incisions are made in the knee. The surgeon inserts the arthroscope through one of the incisions. Other instruments are inserted through the other incisions. The surgeon can see the ligaments, the cartilage, kneecap, and the lining of the joint. This allows him or her to perform surgery to correct any damage. The small incisions will be closed with stitches or pieces of special adhesive tape.


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Maher, Ann. Orthopedic Nursing, Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1994

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