The Knee Foundation
Focus on Knees

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Guide to Knee Arthroscopy : Page 1

Guide to Knee Arthroscopy


This is a ‘keyhole’ examination of a joint – Arthro means joint and the scope is a small tube measuring 5mm. which is inserted into the joint; it has an attached camera and light source. The scope and a small probe are introduced via small incisions called “portals”. A comprehensive examination of the internal structures of the joint can be viewed on screen and recorded.

Originally, arthroscopy was used purely for diagnosis but now it is possible for extensive surgery, using a variety of instruments, to be performed through the portals. Recovery is usually much more rapid than that following “open” surgery but you must remember that recovery time is still dependant on the type of procedure performed.

Various problems can be dealt with arthroscopically and, in many cases, more than one procedure may be necessary. You will find an explanation of the most common procedures at the end of this pamphlet.


Your surgeon will explain the problem you have, how he will try to correct it, and he will answer any queries you have.


knee arthroscopy diagram 1

You will require physiotherapy after your operation, this is usually arranged at the Knee Clinic however, if you live too far away, you should try to find a chartered physiotherapist closer to home. It is useful to make preliminary contact with them before your admission.

Many minor arthroscopic procedures are now carried out on a ‘day case’ basis – this means that you would have your operation in the morning and would be able to go home later that day – usually late afternoon or early evening, after you have seen the surgeon and the physiotherapist.

You may be advised to stay in hospital for one night after your operation, this will depend on the extent of your surgery, the time of day of the surgery (you will have an anaesthetic to recover from) and possibly how far away you live.