Skip to Content


Arthroscopy is a minimally-invasive procedure. This means it uses only small incisions. It is used to diagnose and treat conditions that affect joints. The surgeon can directly view the inside areas of a joint using a tool called an arthroscope. This is a small, tube-shaped tool that is used to look inside a joint.

Orthopedic surgeons use arthroscopy to diagnose and treat joint problems. The scope has a system of lenses, a small video camera, and a light for viewing. The camera is connected to a video screen. This lets the surgeon see a joint through a very small incision. The arthroscope is often used along with other tools that are put through another incision.

Arthroscopy is most often used on the knee. But arthroscopy can be used in other joints. These include:

  • Shoulder
  • Elbow
  • Ankle
  • Hip
  • Wrist

Why might I need arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy may be used to diagnose and help treat:

  • Inflammation in the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, or ankle
  • Shoulder rotator cuff tendon tears
  • Impingement syndrome, which causes pinching of tendons in the shoulder due to squeezing or rubbing of the rotator cuff and shoulder blade
  • Cartilage damage, such as tears, injury, or wear
  • Ligament tears with instability in the knee
  • Tendon damage
  • Loose bone or cartilage in the knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle, wrist, or hip

For more information on this topic, visit our Health Library.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call:

  • SBL Bonutti Clinic at 217 342-3400, or
  • SBL Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at 217 238-3435

More about Arthroscopy