Arthroscopic surgery is surgery performed via keyhole surgery or arthroscopy.

Page updated December 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Surgeons performing an arthroscopy of the knee
The surgeon creates small keyhole cuts ('portals') into the joint, and inserts the instruments through them. Fluid is used to dilate the interior of the knee, and this is possible because it is within the knee's watertight capsule. A tiny camera inside the knee projects the image onto a monitor.


Is arthroscopic surgery major surgery?

Quite complex issues can be dealt with via arthroscopic surgery. such as cruciate ligament replacement, but the recovery is generally much faster than with open surgery where an incision is made into the joint. However, the injection of irrigation fluid under pressure means that the knee will likely be swollen and stiff after surgery, and a period of rehabilittion will still be necessary.

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Peer-reviewed papers

  • Quote:

    "...knee arthroscopy has a role in the management of targeted lesions and in certain situations where non-operative measures have proved unsuccessful."

    Citation: LaPrade RF, Spalding T, Murray IR, Chahla J, Safran MR, Larson CM, Faucett SC, von Bormann R, Brophy RH, Maestu R, Krych AJ, Firer P, Engebretsen L. Knee arthroscopy: evidence for a targeted approach. Br J Sports Med. 2020 Dec 7;55(13):707–8. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2020-103742. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33288619; PMCID: PMC8223657.

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Dr Sheila Strover (Editor)
BSc (Hons), MB BCh, MBA

See biography...