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Arthroscopy of the Knee Accounts for More than Half of Outpatient Surgeries

Knee arthroscopy accounts for more than half of all orthopedic procedures performed in outpatient surgical clinics in the United States.

Arthroscopy, sometimes called keyhole surgery, is a surgical procedure that allows surgeons to see and operate inside a joint using a tool called an arthroscope. The arthroscope -- a lighted tube about the size of a pencil --  is inserted into a small incision. The arthroscope is attached to a miniatiure television camera, allowing the surgeon to see the interior of the joint. The surgeon operates through a second small incision.

Generally, recovery after arthroscopic knee surgery is much faster than after conventional "open" surgery.

Almost one million arthroscopies of the knee were performed in the United States in 2006, nearly half of which were performed because of tears of the soft "cushion" between the bones in the knee, called the meniscus. Knee arthroscopy is more than twice as common in the United States as it is in England.