Arthroscopy or Arthroscopic Surgery is a minimally invasive operation on a joint, usually performed under general or local anesthetic, lasting between 15 minutes and two hours, and usually within the day hospital framework. Nevertheless, despite the relative simplicity of the surgery, recuperation can take a few months, depending on the severity of the injury and the particular treatment. In most cases, we will refer the patient to a physiotherapist as part of the recovery process.

As in any minimally invasive surgery, small cuts are made at the sides of the joint, through which a mini camera is inserted to project the inside of the joint onto a screen. Surgical instruments are also inserted, for cutting or fusion purposes, or for any other need. The procedure allows for the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of joints injuries.

Advantages of Arthroscopy
Before Arthroscopy, all joints surgery was performed using the classic open approach. The minimally invasive approach has undoubted advantages over the fully open method:
•    Smaller cuts
•    Lesser risk of infection
•    Less pain
•    Faster recovery and return to normal activities
•    Lesser risk of unwanted injury to neighboring tissue (nerves, blood vessels, muscles)
•    Fewer days in hospital
•    Low rate of complications
•    Diagnostic accuracy because we can access the whole inside of the joint

Complications
Despite the reduced incidence of side effects compared to open surgery, Arthroscopy was and still is an invasive process that can cause complications. These are not common and generally minor, and they are largely avoidable by good pre-operation planning.

The most common complication during the operation is when the equipment damages the cartilage, either due to a firm joint or a lengthy and difficult operation. It is also possible – although much less common – to damage other parts of the joint such as nerves or large blood vessels. One such relatively common complication is bloody fluid in the joint and – just like any operation – there could be an infection, although chances of that are lower than 1%. The risk of thrombosis or embolus (blocks in the bloodstream) are also very low.