Arthroscopic debridement

Arthroscopic debridement

The process of washing and removing debris from a damaged joint

What is an arthroscopic debridement?

Arthroscopic debridement removes damaged cartilage from inside an affected joint. It forms part of an arthroscopy, where a surgeon repairs torn cartilage in the knee or ankle.

Your surgeon will typically wash any debris out from around your joint and remove any remaining fragments with surgical tweezers.

Need to know

  • What happens during an arthroscopic debridement? icon plus

    This minimally invasive type of keyhole surgery is performed on the lining of the affected joint (commonly the ankle or knee). Your surgeon will make a tiny cut to examine your joint using a small surgical camera (arthroscope). They will then wash out any loose material caused by the wear of the joint surfaces. It's usually possible to trim or repair torn cartilage without making a larger cut. They will then close the cut with stitches.

    You'll either have general anaesthetic, or local anaesthetic, where you will be awake with the affected area numbed. The operation usually takes 30 to 45 minutes.
  • How to prepare for an arthroscopy icon plus

    Your consultant will tell you how best to prepare for the surgery. If you are having general anaesthetic your consultant will let you know how long you should avoid eating and drinking for.
  • After your arthroscopy icon plus

    You should be able to go home on the same day as your surgery. It's common for the affected joint to be a little swollen for a few weeks. Walking may be uncomfortable.

    Regular exercise should help you to get back to normal as soon as possible, including work. Before you start exercising, ask your consultant for advice. Your consultant will let you know how long it will take to get back to your usual routine. They will also be able to tell you if you are likely to experience further problems with the joint.

Paying for medical treatment

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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