Skip to content

Arthritis Health Center

Font Size


How To Prepare

Arthroscopy is often done on an outpatient basis without requiring an overnight stay in a hospital.

Tell your doctor if you:

  • Have allergies to any medicines, including anesthetics.
  • Are taking any medicines, including blood-thinning medicines (such as warfarin [Coumadin]) or aspirin.
  • Have had any bleeding problems, including blood clots in a vein (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT).
  • Are or might be pregnant.
  • Have a history of joint stiffness or arthritis. Joint damage caused by arthritis may make it difficult or impossible to do this procedure.
  • Have had an X-ray of your joint that used contrast material (arthrogram) within the previous 10 days. The contrast material may cause inflammation within your joint that makes performing arthroscopy difficult. This inflammation also can prevent a clear picture of your joint during arthroscopy.
  • Have a history of infection, such as septic arthritis, in the affected joint.
  • Have a history of a broken bone (fracture) or injury to the affected joint.

You will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).

You may have more tests, such as blood tests or urine tests, before your arthroscopy.

Arrange to have someone drive you home after the procedure.

If you have arthroscopy of your ankle, knee, or hip, your doctor will talk to you about having crutches available after the procedure. If you have arthroscopy of a joint in your arm, you will likely wear a sling or splint after the procedure.

How It Is Done

Arthroscopy is usually done by a doctor who specializes in bone, muscle, and joint surgery (orthopedic surgeon).

You will be asked to remove any jewelry and to wear a hospital gown. You may be given a sedative shortly before the procedure to help you relax. The skin around your joint may be shaved.

During the procedure

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

Mature woman exercise at home
Hint: Warming up first is crucial.
feet with gout
Quiz yourself.
woman in pain
One idea? Eat fish to curb inflammation.
senior couple walking
Can you keep your RA from progressing?
xray of knees with osteoarthritis
close up of man wearing dress shoes
feet with gout
close up of red shoe in shoebox
two male hands
Woman massaging her neck
5 Lupus Risk Factors