If you have persistent pain, catching, or swelling in your knee, a procedure known as arthroscopy may help relieve these problems.

Arthroscopy allows an orthopaedic surgeon to diagnose and treat knee disorders by providing a clear view of the inside of the knee with small incisions, utilizing a pencil-sized instrument called an arthroscope. The scope contains optic fibers that transmit an image of your knee through a small camera to a television monitor. The TV image allows the surgeon to thoroughly examine the interior of your knee and determine the source of your problem. During the procedure, the surgeon also can insert surgical instruments through other small incisions in your knee to remove or repair damaged tissues.

Modern or contemporary arthroscopy of the knee was first performed in the late 1960s. With improvements of arthroscopes and higher-resolution cameras, the procedure has become highly effective for both the accurate diagnosis and proper treatment of knee problems. Today, arthroscopy is one of the most common orthopaedic procedures in the United States. More than 1.5 million knee arthroscopies are performed in this country each year.

Whether you have just begun exploring treatment options for your problem knee or have already decided, with your orthopaedic surgeon, to have an arthroscopy, this booklet will help you understand more about this valuable procedure.