Arthroscopy: An Overview

Arthroscopy (also called arthroscopic surgery) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure on a joint in which an examination and sometimes treatment of damage is performed using an arthroscope, an endoscope that is inserted into the joint through a small incision.Image result for arthroscopy

An arthroscopy is a type of keyhole surgery used both to diagnose and treat problems with joints.

The doctor uses a thin viewing tool called an arthroscope, or scope. It allows the doctor to see the joint surfaces and the tough tissue that covers and cushions the ends of the bones (cartilage). The doctor can also see the surrounding soft tissues, such as tissue that connects bone to bone (ligaments).

This procedure can be used to see a joint problem or to do surgery that repairs a joint problem. It can also be done to remove a loose or foreign object in a joint. Doctors can also do it to keep track of a disease or to see how well a treatment is working.

It is most commonly used on the knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists and hips.

Arthroscopic surgery is painful..

Arthroscopic meniscus repair is moderately painful. Because more soft tissue surgery is performed, it is more painful than a standard arthroscopy, but less painful than a ligament reconstruction or another procedure that requires drilling holes through the bone.


Arthroscopic surgery is much easier than other “open” surgery, still requires the use of anaesthetics and the special equipment in a hospital operating room or outpatient surgical suite. A small incision (about the size of a buttonhole) will be made to insert the arthroscope. Several other incisions may be made to see other parts of the joint or insert other instruments.

When indicated, corrective surgery is performed with specially designed instruments Image result for arthroscopythat are inserted into the joint through accessory incisions. Initially, arthroscopy was simply a diagnostic tool for planning standard open surgery.

After arthroscopic surgery, the small incisions will be covered with a dressing and moved from the operating room to a recovery room. Many patients need little or no pain medications.Before being discharged, doctor will give instructions about care for incisions, what activities you should avoid, and which exercises you should do to aid your recovery.

During the follow-up visit, the surgeon will inspect incisions; remove sutures, if present; and discuss rehabilitation program. The amount of surgery required and recovery time will depend on the complexity of problem.


Disease and injuries can damage bones, cartilage, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Some of the most frequent conditions found during arthroscopic examinations of joints are:


For example, synovitis is an inflammation of the lining in the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, or ankle.

Acute or Chronic Injury

  • Shoulder: Rotator cuff tendon tears, impingement syndrome, and recurrent dislocations
  • Knee: Meniscal (cartilage) tears, chondromalacia (wearing or injury of cartilage cushion), and anterior cruciate ligament tears with instability
  • Wrist: Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Loose bodies of bone and/or cartilage: for example, knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle, or wrist.

CPT Codes For Arthroscopy

  • Shoulder Arthroscopy  (CPT Code 29805 – 29828)
  • Elbow Arthroscopy        (CPT Code 29830 – 29838)
  • Wrist Arthroscopy         (CPT Code 29840 – 29856)
  • Hip Arthroscopy             (CPT Code 29860 – 29916)
  • Knee Arthroscopy          (CPT Code 29866 – 29887)
  • Ankle Arthroscopy         (CPT Code 29894 – 29899)

One response to “Arthroscopy: An Overview”

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