General Arthroscopy

By Jon Stiffler, PTA/Sports Center Manager

Overview of General Arthroscopy

General Arthroscopy is a type of surgical procedure which allows surgeons to look into affected joints to diagnose and treat a number of conditions.  Some common injuries treated are meniscal and cartilage tears in knees and labrum tears in shoulders and hips. The procedure is minimally invasive and involves making just a few small incisions around the affected joint.

Once the incisions are made, a small fiber optic video camera, which measures about the size of a pencil, is inserted into the joint to find the problem. In addition, water is constantly flushing through the joint. This is to increase visibility because usually blood is blocking the view.  The view inside your joint is transmitted to a video monitor.  Your surgeon can move around the joint to investigate various issues.  The physician may have a portal site on the medial and lateral side of the joint to see all of the structures.

JOI General Arthroscopy


What Body Parts Can Be Done by Arthroscopy?

In the field of Orthopedics, the following body parts can have an arthroscopy:

  • Shoulder
  • Elbow
  • Wrist
  • Knee
  • Ankle
  • Hip

What Can Be Done With Arthroscopy?

Once the problem or diagnosis is found, other instruments are inserted through the remaining incisions to fix the problem. A common application for the knee is removing the damaged pieces of cartilage or meniscus. This leaves the healthy pieces intact to heal. Arthritis may also be smoothed out if it is causing pain or damage to the surrounding tissues. In some cases, the tears in the joint, such as cartilage or labrum, may be repaired depending on severity and surrounding healthy tissue.  Some ligament and tendons can be repaired through a scope.  The scope can also be used to remove scar tissue with a manipulation.

Regardless of what is done inside the joint, an arthroscopy is an outpatient procedure. Patients will almost always go home the same day of the surgery unless they have other medical conditions that may require observation.

Arthroscopy certainly is less invasive to the body part versus an open wound.  The small portals cause less damage to the surrounding tissues.  They usually heal without any issues.

Post-Op After an Arthroscopic Procedure

What should I expect after an arthroscopic procedure?  Usually, the procedure itself is relatively quick.  This means that the recovery time in the surgery center is usually quick as well.  You will still need someone to give you a ride home after the procedure.  The JOI MD will come out to your family or friend and explain what was done in your scope.  They will give you instructions for:

  • List of Medications that you may need. The MD will review what medications if any you require when you go home. 
  • The R.I.C.E. protocol will be explained for home care.  You will also be given instructions on a brace or sling if needed.  The MD or nurse will also explain your weight bearing status after the surgery.  Full, partial or non-weight bearing are the choices as well as assistive devices like crutches, walker or a cane.

RICE Protocol

  • Your physician will also give you certain exercises that you can do before you start physical therapy.  This includes ankle pumps, quad sets and Codman’s Exercises.  They will also let you know about the care of your scope sites and when you post-op visit is.

Risks of Arthroscopy

If you have any of the following, please give your physician office a call or an on-call MD will give you instructions.

  • A high level of pain that is not tolerable or any new numbness or tingling.
  • A general body fever.  However, usually the body part itself is warm to touch.
  • Unusual amount of bleeding or drainage from your portal sites.
  • Signs of an infection or redness of the portal sites.
  • Any rash or other allergic symptoms from anesthesia/medications.
  • Pain, redness or swelling in one of the calf muscles or upper extremity.  Difficulty breathing should be reported immediately.

Outcomes from an Arthroscopy

In general, the outcomes from arthroscopic procedures at JOI are excellent.  Each and every day advancements are being made in surgical procedures.  New innovative techniques are in the development stages.  Our surgeons continue to learn new procedures and techniques to make sure that our patients have the best possible outcomes.

JOI Rehab

JOI has 12 physical therapy clinics conveniently located in Jacksonville who specialize in orthopedic rehab.  We work with our orthopedic surgeons to develop post-operative protocols to get you back to doing the activities you love.

  • Finally, to schedule an appointment for physical or occupational therapy, call (904) 858-7045.

Related Articles: Advances in Elbow Arthroscopy and Shoulder Arthroscopy.


All JOI Physicians, Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists now offer Telemedicine services for virtual visits from the convenience of your home.

  • Also, to schedule a new patient or follow up patient appointment with your MD, please call (904)JOI-2000.

JOI and JOI Rehab

JOI Physicians continue to offer online new patient appointments. This is another option to make it more convenient to make new patient appointments with less phone hold times. Follow the link below to select your JOI MD and schedule online.

You can still call 904-JOI-2000 to make new patient JOI Physician Appointments if that is your preference.

To make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.

By: Jon Stiffler, PTA/Sports Center Manager

Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician

JOI Rehab

Skip to content