Health Library Explorer
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A-Z Listings Contact Us
Search Results
Translate

Knee Arthroscopy: Conditions Treated

Arthroscopy is used to find and treat many types of knee problems. These include tears in the meniscal cartilage or anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and arthritis.

Image of damaged meniscal cartilage being removed.
Damaged meniscal cartilage is removed.

Meniscal Cartilage Tears

There are several types of meniscal cartilage tears. The meniscal cartilage attaches on the tibia (shinbone) and acts as a shock absorber for the knee. Your surgery will depend on the type and extent of your injury. Your surgeon can remove the damaged tissue or fix the tear. Treatment should ease the pain and swelling. It can also help keep the joint from locking.

Image of an ACL graft being attached at the knee joint.
To replace damaged ACL tissue,  a graft of strong, healthy tissue is attached.

ACL Tears

A torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) can make the knee unstable. You may have pain and swelling, and your knee may give out. Your surgeon can repair the ACL by reconstructing it. To rebuild your ACL, damaged tissue may be replaced with a graft of healthy tissue from an area near your knee, or from a donor.

Image of a burring instrument being used to smooth the joint surface. The femur and tibia are labeled.
To treat arthritis,  areas where cartilage has worn away are smoothed.

Arthritis

Constant use of the knee over time can cause arthritis. This is when the articular cartilage wears away and roughens. The articular cartilage attaches on the femur(thighbone) and aids in smooth motion of the joint. Bone or cartilage fragments can also break off inside the joint (loose bodies). Either problem can limit movement and cause pain. Your surgeon will use a burr or shaver to smooth the joint surface. This will aid in healing. Loose bodies and inflamed synovial tissue are also removed.

Online Medical Reviewer: Hanrahan, John, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 3/10/2013
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.