Knee arthroscopy is a simple operation which gives great visualisation of the knee cartilage, meniscus, cruciate ligaments and synovium (lining).
It is relatively low risk in terms of surgery, and typically used for treating meniscal tears (resection or repair), ACL injuries (reconstruction) and chondral defects (grafting or CARGEL). It is also used for removing loose bodies, and in conjunction with other procedures such as patellofemoral reconstruction.
Whilst low-risk, there are some things typically that it is not indicated for. In particular, some surgeons have been criticised for being too interventional with this procedure in the arthritic knee, where arthroscopy is generally not supported by the evidence except in very specific cases.
Have a listen to the video if you want to know more:
A knee replacement is a big operation and should not be entered into without proper consideration of the time involved in rehabilitation, or the potential for complications. In that sense, it’s a bit like a marriage – once you have a prosthetic joint, you will always have a prosthetic joint (hopefully).
So hang on to your own joint for as long as possible.
See the next section for a discussion on non-operative options.