What is Arthroscopy, How is It Performed?

A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Arthroscopy: What it is, How it's Performed, and its Benefits

The word arthroscopy refers to looking inside the joint. Using fiberoptic devices (camera and light systems), the insides of the joints are examined with video. In this way, diseases and injuries in the intra-articular tissues are seen without opening the joint, and the necessary treatments are performed.

Which Joints are Arthroscopy Performed?

Knee, shoulder, hip, ankle are the most commonly arthroscopic joints. Elbow, wrist, big toe joints are also joints that benefit from arthroscopy in treatment. Operations in anatomical areas outside the joint, where we still treat using arthroscopic technology and devices, are called “endoscopic” interventions instead of “arthroscopic” ones.

What Diseases are Treated With Arthroscopy?

Although the joints consist of cartilage surfaces covering the opposite bones, each joint has its own unique internal and external ligaments, particularly anatomical tissues such as the meniscus and labrum. Almost every anatomical tissue in the joint is treated arthroscopic.

Knee joint: Meniscal tears, cartilage injuries, anterior and posterior cruciate ligament injuries, synovia (articular membrane) diseases


Hip: The hip impingement disease that constitutes the “glass” and “pincer” structures, tears, labrum, teres injuries, synovial (joint lining) diseases around the hip joint (front or back) structural abnormalities of the femur and the pelvis that created the jam

Shoulder: Shoulder impingement syndrome, Rotator sheath tendon tears of the biceps tendon degeneration and tears, recurrent dislocation of the shoulder joint, frozen shoulder, Akromioklavikuler joint problems, suprascapular nerve syndrome

Shoulder anatomy

Ankle joint: Anterior compression syndrome, cartilage injuries, diseases of the synovia (articular membrane), osteochondral lesion of the talus, arthrodesis of the ankle (joint freezing)

What is the Difference Between Arthroscopy and Open Surgery?

In arthroscopy, the thickness of the cameras and instruments used to view and treat the joint is about half a cm. Therefore, incisions smaller than one cm are sufficient. There is no need for a large incision in the joint capsule and its skin, the muscles around the joint. This recovery period is avoided in portals in arthroscopic processes (incisions less than one centimeter), while the cut and opened and re-sewn tissues need time to heal. Pain control becomes more accessible. After surgery, physical therapy movements become earlier and more comfortable. After arthroscopy, the remaining trace is a few millimeters long and becomes almost invisible months later.

In open surgery, the surgical area through the incision can be seen from a limited angle. However, as a result of advancing the camera used in arthroscopy and looking at it from various angles, all common areas can be viewed and processed. Thus, arthroscopy allows for more detailed examination and treatment. The advantages of arthroscopy have made arthroscopy the gold standard in the treatment of many diseases.


With the emergence of arthroscopy in orthopedic surgery with a long history, some open surgeries have also begun to be performed by closed-arthroscopic methods. At first, performing the same surgery openly or arthroscopic is associated with technical equipment and training. At the same time, today, the standard treatment for most intra-articular diseases or injuries is arthroscopic. The main advantages of arthroscopy are many, but this doesn’t always mean that open surgery is terrible; arthroscopic surgery is good. There are diseases and conditions in which the procedures to be performed inside the joint aren’t sufficient. In some complex treatments, it is necessary to use arthroscopy and open methods together. For example, when the treatment of cartilage tissue and labrum tissue in the hip joint is arthroscopic, it may be necessary to change the angular position of the hip joint with open surgery in the same session. For this reason, an orthopedist performing arthroscopic surgery should equally master the treatment of the relevant anatomical area with open surgery or work as a team with another orthopedist with this knowledge and experience.

How Long Do I Stay in the Hospital For Arthroscopic?

Most arthroscopic surgical procedures are day-to-day surgical procedures. In one-day treatment, the patient is admitted to the hospital on the day of surgery and is discharged on the evening of the same day after treatment is completed. But depending on the operation performed and the patient’s characteristics, the duration of hospitalization can be increased to several days. Your doctor will inform you about this before surgery.

recovery time from discectomy surgery

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