Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure which orthopaedic surgeons make use of to examine, diagnose and treat problems with in the knee joint. The word arthroscopy comes from Greek words Arthros (joint) and Scopos (to look). The term literally means "to look inside the joint".
A knee joint is lined with the synovial lining, that generally produces minute amounts of joint lubricant and nutrient called synovial fluid. It contains dense and elastic tissue lining bone ends and the underneath of the knee-cap called articular cartilage, two tough cartilage cushions called medial and lateral menisci and fibre-like connecting tissue called ligaments.
The articular cartilage, menisci and ligaments cushion the bones and stabilise the joint. Injuries and disease can injure synovial lining, bones, articular cartilage, menisci, ligaments, muscles and tendons.
Arthroscopy gives a accurate, direct view of the affected structures within the joint. Surgical intervention for different problems disturbing the inside of the knee joint is the main reason for arthroscopy. Most common conditions found through arthroscopic examination of the knee joint are:
Torn or degenerate menisci (cartilage).
Tornor ruptured cruciate ligaments.
Loose fragments of cartilage or bone.
Damaged joint surface (articular cartilage)
Inflammation of the joint lining (synovitis)
Mal-tracking patella (kneecap)
Although rare, complications do occur occasionally during or subsequent diagnostic and surgical arthroscopy. They comprise excessive swelling or bleeding, skin and (extremely rarely) joint infection, phlebitis, blood clots (DVT) and very seldom technical problems with arthroscopic instruments.