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Health Information Center


  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:



(Fiberoptic Joint Examination)


Arthroscopy is a surgery to examine a joint. It is most often done on large joints like the knee or shoulder. Areas of the joint may also be repaired.

Arthroscopy of the Right Knee.

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Reasons for Procedure

Arthroscopy may be done to:

  • Diagnose an injury or disease
  • Remove damaged bone or cartilage
  • Repair tendons or ligaments

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Infection
  • Problems from anesthesia
  • Blood clots
  • Swelling or bleeding
  • Damage to blood vessels, nerves, or other tissue
  • The need to have another surgery

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Long term diseases such as diabetes and obesity
  • Smoking
  • Drinking excess alcohol

What to Expect

Problems to Look Out For

Call your doctor if you are not feeling better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, a lot of bleeding, or discharge from the cut
  • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • Lasting nausea or vomiting
  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • Joint pain, tiredness, stiffness, rash, or other new symptoms
  • Swelling, tingling, pain, or numbness in your toes that is not eased by raising your knee above heart level for 1 hour

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.





  • Arthroscopy. Johns Hopkins website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/arthroscopy.
  • Arthroscopy. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.org/en/treatment/arthroscopy.
  • Jamil M, Dandachli et al. Hip arthroscopy: Indications, outcomes and complications. Int J Surg. 2018;54(Pt B):341-344.
  • Management of meniscus tears. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/management-of-meniscus-tears.
  • Thorlund JB, Juhl CB, et al. Arthroscopic knee surgery for degenerative knee: systematic review and meta-analysis of benefits and harms. BMJ 2015;350:h2747.


  • April Scott, NP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.