Joint Arthroscopy: Knee, Shoulder and Ankle

Joint Arthroscopy is a procedure used to diagnose and treat joint problems in the knee, shoulder and ankle. It can also be used to assess the results of a previous surgery. During the procedure, the surgeon will examine and probably repair the problem with the help of an arthroscope, which is a small camera attached to a video monitor. Surgery usually takes about 30 minutes with about two hours of recovery before the patient is released.

What to expect

During this low-risk procedure, patients can expect to receive a general, regional or local anesthesia depending on the extent of the procedure. After a mild sedative is given, the joint will be isolated in a traction device, and the area will be disinfected. The surgeon will then make a small incision over the surgical site and insert a hollow tube through the underlying tissue covering the joint for the arthroscope. Meanwhile, saline will be flushed into the area to expand the joint for better viewing and minimize bleeding. More small incisions are made to allow the surgeon to insert the necessary tools needed to repair the joint.

Afterwards, the surgeon removes the arthroscope and flushes the joint with sterile saline solution. Incisions will be closed with tape or stitches as necessary.

How to prepare

Patients will be expected to not eat and limit drink to clear liquids for at least six hours before the procedure. Loose clothing is recommended for ease of dressing after the procedure, and arrangements should be made for a ride home. The doctor will advise the patient of any medications prohibited before the arthroscopy.