(1) Arthroscopic surgery is a procedure that allows surgeons to visualize, diagnose, and treat joint problems. The name is derived from the Greek words arthron, joint, and skopein, to look at. Arthroscopy is performed using an arthroscope, a small fiber-optic instrument that enables a close look at the inside of a joint through a small incision.
Arthroscopic surgery is used to diagnose, treat, and monitor joint injuries and diseases that affect the joints. Diagnostic arthroscopic surgery is performed when the medical history, physical exam, x-rays, and bone scanning examinations, such as MRI or CT Scan, do not provide a definitive diagnosis. Corrective arthroscopic surgery is used primarily to remove bone or cartilage or repair tendons or ligaments.
(2) A surgical technique whereby a tube-like instrument is inserted into a joint to inspect, diagnose and repair tissues. Arthroscopy is most commonly performed in patients with diseases of the knees or shoulders. The adjective “arthroscopic” is often confused with “orthoscopic.” Orthoscopic means having correct vision or producing it; and free from optical distortion or designed to correct distorted vision. This fits with the prefix “ortho-”, meaning straight or erect, and ”-scopic” from the Greek “skopein”, to see. Orthoscopic literally is to see straight. Knee surgery performed with a small scope is arthroscopic knee surgery, not orthoscopic knee surgery.