Arthroscopic surgery refers to procedures in which surgeons operate on joints through small incisions. This is in contrast to the single large incision used in traditional open surgery.
Using an arthroscope, surgeons can illuminate and magnify the internal structure of joints. An arthroscope is a thin, tubular instrument. It contains a light source and specialized lenses.
Arthroscopic surgery uses small incisions. So recovery is usually less painful than traditional surgery.
In addition, arthroscopic surgery:
Has fewer complications
Requires a shorter hospital stay (or no stay)
Is less expensive
Allows a quicker recovery
Most arthroscopic procedures are done on the knee joint. Others involve the shoulder. Arthroscopic surgery can also be done on the ankle, elbow, wrist and hip. But these procedures are much less frequent. And success is less certain.