Beware of Arthroscopic Knee Surgery for Osteoarthritis

Arthroscopy is a type of keyhole surgery used to correct joint deformities or preserve joint function. It’s a common surgery, but according to the Arthritis Foundation, may be of little benefit for osteoarthritis patients.

In a nutshell, arthroscopy is a process wherein the surgeon inserts a tube the size of drinking straw through a small incision. A camera attached to the tube allows the surgeon to see inside the joint and make some types of repairs. With osteoarthritis, this generally means cleaning out cartilage, degrading materials, strands of tissues, among other things. The thought has been that if you clean the joint, you’ll reduce pain.

There’s less certainty, however, around this procedure today. Studies have revealed that arthroscopic surgery has been of little benefit to osteoarthritis patients and as with all surgeries, may introduce risks such as infection and error.