Arthroscopic Surgery for Knee Pain

surgery, medicine and people concept - group of surgeons at operation in operating room at hospital


Arthroscopy surgery involves inserting small instruments through small cuts in the knee.  The majority of patients with knee pain will not require arthroscopy, and recent reviews suggest it may not be effective for osteoarthritis. It may however be required when conservative care is unsuccessful at resolving the problem and other measures have proven ineffective, such as for meniscal tears or ligament injuries.


Arthroscopic surgery for degenerative knee arthritis and meniscal tears: a clinical practice guideline.BMJ 2017357 doi: 

Kirkley, A., & Birmingham, T.,(2008). A Randomized Trial of Arthroscopic Surgery for Osteoarthritis of the Knee. New England Journal of Medicine, 359(11), 1097-1106.

RESCU Treatment Ratings

R = Risk      E = Effectiveness      S = Self-Care

C = Cost     U = Usefulness (overall rating)

1 = Least Favorable     5 = Most Favorable


RISK: 4/5

Knee arthroscopy still has the risks of most surgeries, including anesthesia risks and the potential for blood clots and infection, though one recent study showed those occurred in just over 1% of patients. The risk of all complications was as high as 8%.


Friberger Pajalic, K., Turkiewicz, A. & Englund, M. Update on the risks of complications after knee arthroscopy. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 19, 179 (2018).


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