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What is Arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a type of surgery that uses a long tube (arthroscope) with a tiny video camera attached to see inside your body. Arthroscopy checks for problems inside your joints and aids in the repair. This type of surgery is used for knees, shoulders, elbows, ankles, hips, and hands.

Why is it Done?

Arthroscopy can be helpful for many conditions, including these:

  • You have a tear in the ligaments of your joint
  • You have a joint dislocation
  • You have damaged pieces of cartilage in your joint
  • Some of your joint bones are fractured

How to Prepare

Before your surgery, you will meet with your doctor and discuss any concerns you have. At that time, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you're currently taking, since you may need to stop taking some of them temporarily. You will be given a list of pre-operative instructions, including how long to refrain from eating or drinking.

What to Expect

For this procedure, you may have local anesthesia, which numbs just the area being operated on. Or you may have regional anesthesia, so you are numb from the waist down. In some cases, if the surgery is lengthy, you will be under general anesthesia.

Your surgeon will make small incisions in your joint. An arthroscope will be inserted and will transmit images to a monitor that your surgeon can see. Using other tools, your surgeon will then repair your joint or remove pieces of damaged bone and cartilage. Then your incision will be closed and covered with a dressing.

Depending on the extent of your surgery, you may recover in a few days or a few weeks. In some cases, you will need to wear a joint brace or use crutches. Usually, the procedure will alleviate the pain you were feeling. However, if you have arthritis, you may still feel some related symptoms.

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