Complications are not common during arthroscopy.
Sometimes there is joint stiffness or long-lasting joint pain. Bleeding within
the joint can occur, particularly if surgery is done during the
There is a small chance of infection, formation of a
blood clot in the affected limb, or nerve or joint damage. Also, there is a
small risk of damage to the structures within the joint.
cases, a serious condition called
compartment syndrome can occur if pressure builds
within a muscle compartment (most commonly in the front of the calf or
forearm). When this occurs, immediate medical treatment is needed to release
In very rare cases, death can occur from
complications of general anesthesia.
After the test
Contact your doctor immediately
- Your pain or swelling (or both) continue or
- Your incision site bleeds excessively.
experience redness, swelling, pain, or a sensation of heat in your calf or arm.
These may be signs of a blood clot in a vein, a condition called
thrombophlebitis. If you have these symptoms, do not
massage the area.
- You develop signs of infection. These signs may
- Increased pain, swelling, redness, or
warmth around the affected area.
- Red streaks extending from the
- Drainage of pus from the area.
lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, or groin.
- Fever or chills with no
other known cause.
Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that
allows your doctor to look at the inside of a joint in your body through a thin
viewing instrument called an arthroscope. Your doctor can determine whether
your joint is normal by looking at it through the arthroscope. Usually your
doctor will be able to discuss the results with you right after the
In a normal, healthy joint, the
ligaments look like white cables. The
cartilage is smooth and white. The joint fluid is
clear, and there are no loose pieces of tissue in the joint. If there is no
damage or disease seen in the joint, your doctor may conclude that your joint
is normal and is not the cause of your symptoms.
In a damaged or diseased joint, the
ligaments and cartilage are abnormal in color and shape. If there is damage or
disease in the joint, your doctor may identify the condition and may even
perform surgery during the arthroscopy to repair the joint problem. Examples of
damage or disease in the joint include:
- Torn, displaced, or loose fragments of
soft tissues (such as ligaments or cartilage).
- Abnormal growths,
- Evidence of joint or cartilage
destruction caused by injury or diseases such as
After your doctor has evaluated your joint, further
treatment with medicine, physical therapy, or surgery may be