Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive approach to diagnosing and treating many joint conditions.

During the procedure, a fiber-optic instrument with a lighted tip - an arthroscope - is inserted into a small incision near the joint. Through the instrument, your Cedars-Sinai orthopedic surgeon can see inside the joint.

In some cases, repairs or reconstruction of cartilage or torn ligaments can be done arthroscopically. Using miniature tools inserted in small incisions adjacent to the where the arthroscope has been inserted, the surgeon can do surgery while watching the images from the arthroscope.

The advantage of this type of minimally invasive procedure is typically there is less pain, faster healing and it often allows you to return to your regular activities more quickly.

While arthroscopy is commonly used to treat many joint conditions, it is less frequently used in other situations. Arthroscopy is used to:

  • Repair cartilage tears. Using arthroscopy, an orthopedic surgeon can remove torn pieces of cartilage or sew torn pieces together (this is done in some younger people).
  • Treat hip conditions, including arthritis of the hip. This is less common than other types of arthroscopic surgery and usually only done in special centers such as the Cedars-Sinai Orthopaedic Center. The surgery is difficult and often requires special equipment. It can be used to diagnose the source of hip pain. It is a less painful way to sew a torn acetabluar labrum back together or to remove pieces of the labrum that cannot be repaired.
  • Remove bone spurs, loose bits of bone or cartilage or the diseased lining of a joint (the synovium). This can be used to treat both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
  • Treat chondromalacia by smoothing the surface of the cartilage in the knee joint and removing any fragments of cartilage that may be catching in the joint when you bend or straighten your knee.