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Arthroscopy

How To Prepare continued...

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

If general or regional anesthesia is used, an anesthesia specialist will administer the medicine. A general anesthetic will make you unconscious during the procedure. Your heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, and respirations will be monitored during the procedure. If a local anesthetic is used, it will be injected into the skin and joint space. If a local or regional anesthetic is used, your limb will be numb and you will be relaxed and drowsy but will remain conscious.

You usually lie on your back. Depending on which joint is being looked at, an inflatable band (tourniquet) may be used to temporarily restrict blood flow to your joint so your doctor can see all the structures in your joint. Your joint is scrubbed with an antiseptic solution and draped with sterile towels. Before the tourniquet is inflated, the joint will be elevated and may be wrapped with an elastic bandage to reduce blood flow to the joint.

A small incision about 0.25 in. (0.6 cm) will be made near your joint. Before inserting the arthroscope, an irrigation solution (usually saline) will be used to flush the joint space to provide a better view of the entire joint. A steady low flow of solution is usually used during the procedure to clear out any debris or blood in the joint so your doctor can evaluate your joint.

Once the arthroscope is inserted, your doctor will be able to see inside the joint by viewing a video monitor attached to the arthroscope. Your doctor or the surgical assistants may bend, extend, and reposition the joint to see it from different angles. Videotapes or photographs of the joint may also be taken.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 14, 2013
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.

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