OEBB

Risks and benefits

It is important to discuss all the possible outcomes of this procedure with your healthcare provider in order to have realistic expectations of the results.  In some cases, depending on your condition, surgery may not always result in complete and full recovery.  See Alternative Treatments below for treatment options that can be just as effective as surgery, that are less invasive and may offer benefits like shorter recovery time, shorter time away from work, and fewer to no post-surgery follow-up visits.

Arthroscopy is a low-risk procedure. Complications occur in 1 percent to 2 percent of arthroscopies. The risks include:

  • Bone, cartilage or ligament damage from placing and movement of instruments within the tight space of the joint
  • Blood vessel or nerve damage in the area around the joint
  • Tendon or ligament damage
  • Bleeding within the joint
  • A blood clot in a leg vein — mainly a risk in procedures lasting more than an hour
  • Infection

Resources

Please visit these resources for more information:

Arthroscopy. Updated July 2008 by: Thomas N. Joseph, MD, Private Practice specializing in Orthopaedics, subspecialty Foot and Ankle, Camden Bone & Joint, Camden, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. National Institutes of Health

Arthroscopy. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). 1998-2010.

Arthritis Health Center.  Arthroscopy. 2009. WebMD.

What is arthroscopy? Accessed 2010. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

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