Arthroscopy is a surgery to examine a joint. It is most often done on large joints like the knee or shoulder. Areas of the joint may also be repaired.

Arthroscopy of the Right Knee
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Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare. All procedures have some risk. Your doctor will talk about possible problems, like:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Swelling or bleeding
  • Damage to blood vessels, nerves, or other tissue
  • The need to have another surgery

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Pre-existing heart or lung condition
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Recent or chronic illness
  • Diabetes
  • Bleeding disorders



This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

a (Fiberoptic Joint Examination)

Click here to view an animated version of this procedure.


Arthritis Foundation 

Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 


Arthritis Society 

When it Hurts to Move—Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation 


Arthroscopy. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: Accessed December 19, 2020.

Katz JN, Brownlee SA, Jones MH. The role of arthroscopy in the management of knee osteoarthritis. Best Pract Res Clin Rheum. 2014;28:143-156.

Pitta M, Davis W 3rd, Argintar EH. Arthroscopic management of osteoarthritis. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2016;24(2):74-82.

Thorlund JB, Juhl CB, Roos EM, Lohmander LS. Arthroscopic knee surgery for degenerative knee: systematic review and meta-analysis of benefits and harms. BMJ 2015;350:h2747.

What is arthroscopic surgery? Arthroscopy Association of North America website. Available at: Accessed December 19, 2020.