Common Injuries Treated With Arthroscopy 

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What is Arthroscopy?

By inserting the arthroscope through a small incision, the surgeon can access a clear view of the joint on a monitor, enabling them to recognise any injuries or abnormalities.

How Arthroscopic Surgery Works?

Arthroscopic surgery, although minimally invasive, is still conducted in an operating room. Depending on the specific procedure, you may get local anaesthesia to numb the area or general anaesthesia, which allows you to sleep throughout the surgery.

The surgery generally involves making small incisions to insert an arthroscope into the affected joint. This arthroscope, a surgical instrument about the size of a pencil, has a camera that projects images onto a monitor in the operating room. This enables the surgeon to examine the damaged area.

Additional instruments, including lasers, may be inserted during the surgery through separate tiny incisions. Once the procedure is completed, your incisions will be closed using stitches or sterile strips.

After the surgery, you will usually be discharged from the recovery area within 1-2 hours, along with instructions for post-operative care.

Types of Arthroscopic Surgery

  • Elbow arthroscopy
  • Knee arthroscopy
  • Hand and wrist arthroscopy
  • Foot and ankle arthroscopy
  • Hip arthroscopy
  • Shoulder arthroscopy

Benefits of Arthroscopic Surgery

1. Reduced swelling and inflammation

Compared to open surgery that involves larger incisions, an arthroscopic procedure uses tiny openings in the skin. This results in minimal soft tissue exposure to trauma, leading to lowered swelling, inflammation, and pain.

2. Accelerated recovery

With arthroscopic surgery, you will have more minor wounds than larger ones. In specific cases, you can remove the bandages and replace them with small sterilised adhesive strips within a day or two after the procedure. 

Conversely, open surgery requires more significant wounds that demand more extensive care and frequent visits to the doctor.

3. Reduced likelihood of complications

Before the advent of arthroscopy, joint surgery involved prolonged joint exposure during the procedure, thereby elevating the risk of infection; furthermore, it heightened the probability of arthrofibrosis, a condition marked by the formation of scar tissue resulting from surgical trauma. This scar tissue restricts the range of motion, leading to discomfort whenever the affected tissue or joint is moved.

4. Better return to function 

Before the advancement of arthroscopic surgery, joint injuries frequently spelt the end of a professional athlete’s career. However, nowadays, patients typically make a successful comeback to the field after taking some time off.

Outpatient surgical setting

Outpatient surgical facilities are typically used to perform arthroscopic surgeries in a surgical centre or occasionally in the surgeon’s office. 

These alternatives offer a more affordable solution for the healthcare system and the patient than undergoing the procedure in a hospital. On the other hand, open surgeries typically necessitate a hospital environment.

The type of anaesthesia administered during arthroscopic procedures may range from a local anaesthetic to general anaesthesia. In contrast, general anaesthesia is utilised for open surgeries, which may not be well-tolerated by certain patients, particularly older individuals or those with underlying health conditions.

Fast Recovery Time

The recovery time is considerably reduced with arthroscopic surgery compared to open surgery. The removal of bandages, healing of incisions, and initiation of physical therapy can all happen at a faster pace. 

This empowers patients to return to their routine and work much sooner than those who undergo open surgery. In the past, open surgeries required months of recovery, but arthroscopic surgery now only takes weeks. 

This saves time and money for hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, and patients and positions arthroscopy as one of the most noteworthy advancements in orthopaedic surgery during the 20th century.

Symptoms of sports-related injuries

Pain is a common indication of sports-related injuries. Nevertheless, the type of pain can vary depending on the specific injury. Acute injuries, like fractures, typically result in sharp and piercing pain. 

The pain experienced can range from cramping, dull, burning, and achy to throbbing, depending on the nature of the injury.

In some instances, individuals may experience intermittent pain. Specific activities may exacerbate the pain, while rest can offer some relief. 

Additional symptoms that may accompany the pain include:

  • Joint stiffness and restricted range of motion
  • Bruising
  • Muscle spasms
  • Swelling or abnormal appearance at the site of injury, which is more likely with fractures and dislocations
  • Redness at the site of injury
  • Discomfort in using a limb or putting weight on it
  • Numbness, weakness or tingling 
  • Increased temperature at the site of injury

A few symptoms that may indicate a severe condition are:

  • Severe sports injuries such as fractures and dislocations
  • Inability to move a joint
  • Severe pain or swelling
  • Deformity or lump on the injured joint or bone
  • An open wound on the skin
  • Hearing a grinding, popping or snapping sound during the injury

Injuries treated with Arthroscopic Surgery

Arthroscopic surgery is a multifaceted procedure that can address various joint issues, encompassing the shoulders, wrists, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles. In sports and recreational activities, arthroscopic surgery is beneficial in treating prevalent conditions.

Torn Tendons And Ligaments

Tendons are the connecting tissues between your bones and muscles, facilitating movement. Ligaments, on the other hand, play an essential role in stabilising your joints. An arthroscopic procedure known as ACL reconstruction is commonly performed to address injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee.

An ACL injury can happen while playing basketball, soccer, or tennis or during any sport involving sudden stops/starts or jumping. Individuals experiencing this type of injury frequently describe a sudden popping sound or sensation, along with a feeling that their knee is giving out.

Damaged Cartilage

Cartilage is a protective tissue lining the bones and, easing their connection, can become damaged. This damage may lead to restricted movement, stiffness, and swelling in the affected area.

Bone Chips or Cartilage Fragments

Injuries can result in the presence of cartilage or bone fragments, which can create discomfort and inflammation. These small fragments, also called loose bodies, may or may not be visible on an X-ray. The surgeon can locate and extract these fragments effectively by an arthroscopic procedure.

Joint Inflammation

In cases of injury, like a torn ligament or dislocation, the body’s response is to increase blood circulation to the affected region, resulting in heat, swelling, and stiffness that may endure over time. 

If conventional treatments such as medication and physical therapy fail to alleviate the inflammation, an arthroscopic procedure could be considered an alternative solution.

Recovering from arthroscopic surgery

After undergoing arthroscopic surgery, it is expected to experience pain, bruising, swelling, and stiffness. Pain-relief medications can be taken to reduce these symptoms.

In addition, you may receive the following recommendations:

  • Wear a pressure stocking.
  • Elevate the affected joint to reduce swelling.
  • Apply ice packs to reduce swelling further.
  • Engage in special exercises or physiotherapy to strengthen muscles and prevent joint stiffness.
  • Utilise a splint, supportive brace, or crutches.

Your recovery time may vary depending on your specific condition and the type of procedure performed. It is advisable to consult with your doctor to understand better what to expect in your particular situation. 

Also, your doctor will guide wound dressing management and may suggest taking a few days or even a week off from work or school.


Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that utilises an arthroscope, a small camera, to visualise and diagnose issues within the joints. 


1. What type of injuries is arthroscopic surgery used for?

Arthroscopy is a technique healthcare professionals use to diagnose and treat various issues related to joints, tendons, and ligaments. This encompasses conditions like knee pain, instability, and injuries such as tears in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus. Also, arthroscopy addresses problems like torn ligaments, cartilage, and tendons.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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