a type of joint surgery in which a thin tube with a light source (called an
arthroscope) is inserted into the joint through a small incision (cut) in the
skin, allowing the doctor to see the inside of the joint. Instruments are
inserted through other small cuts to work on the joint. Surgery will not cure
rheumatoid arthritis or stop the disease's progress. But it may improve function and provide some pain relief.
Arthroscopy usually does not require an
overnight stay in the hospital. After the procedure, the joint should be used
as infrequently as possible for several days. Crutches may be needed if the
foot or knee joint was examined, depending on the extent of the procedure and
the doctor's preference.
This procedure is used for treatment
in large joints. Procedures done with arthroscopy include:
This procedure may not be appropriate if joint destruction
Arthroscopy temporarily relieves
pain and sometimes eases joint movement but does little to slow the progression
of the disease.1
Risks of arthroscopy include the risks of
surgery and using anesthetic and a slight risk of infection and bleeding within
Arthroscopy does little to change
the disease process. Recurrence of pain and other symptoms is
likely, but arthroscopy may provide temporary relief.
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
Firestein GS (2007). Rheumatoid arthritis. In DC Dale,
DD Federman, eds., ACP Medicine, section 15, chap. 2.
New York: WebMD.
June 5, 2012
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
& Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
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