The Pros and Cons of Arthroscopic Surgery


Arthroscopic surgery, or arthroscopy, “keyhole surgery” as it is sometimes called, is generally a simple, minimally invasive surgery that, in recent years, has seen a huge swell in popularity.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 1.5 million people receive knee arthroscopies each year.

During this procedure, the surgeon makes three small incisions in your knee and then inserts the arthroscope, which is a camera the size of a pen, into your knee to visually evaluate the condition of the joint. Then repairs are made using tiny surgical instruments through the scope.

In many cases, this surgery is necessary and very beneficial to the health of the knee. An arthroscopy can fix painful torn cartilage or a torn meniscus, bone spurs, or can be used to clean out a knee that has floating pieces of cartilage or bone. Often times, the knee joint needs to be “cleaned out” and pieces of unwanted tissue are removed that cause unwanted irritation and pain.

Depending on the condition of your injury, arthroscopy is beneficial especially if something in your knee is broken or torn. However, in some cases, this surgery can and should be avoided.

I have had several clients whose doctors wanted to perform arthroscopic surgery as a type of “exploratory surgery” to see if there is anything going on in the knee that an MRI, CT, or X-ray missed. Unfortunately, this left them in more pain than before the surgery. If your doctor recommends that you have “exploratory surgery,” I would make sure and ask your doctor if it is necessary before proceeding.

No matter how “NON” invasive a surgery is, surgery is surgery. And your body faces the trauma and pain that comes with being cut and probed. The average recovery time for an arthroscopy is four to six weeks and that is assuming that the surgery was successful. It is important to weigh your options in order to determine if arthroscopic surgery is the right choice for your injury.

Get Started Today

Join Knee Club
5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I am a track athlete. I throw I don’t run. my knee tends to pop out and shift and I have a popping happening. I tend to be in pain and feel pressure in my knee. My doctor suggested a lateral release surgery because there is also a tilt to my knee which is probably shifting the way it does. I’m in my senior year of high school and I’m planning to compete in college next year during the winter. Should I just deal with it or go with surgery?


I had Hip replacement Nov 2020. I am 54, 6’0″ 168 lbs. Every since the replacement I have had lateral knee pain. It was so bad that I could only get relief by laying on my stomach. After 4 weeks, at my hip doctor follow up, he gave me an injection in my knee. Unfortunately that didn’t help. I went through extensive PT and it is better. I walk every day and exercise. However, if jog at all or long walks it hurts. It also really hurts when I lift and cross my leg in the shower to wash my… Read more »


I have keyhole surgery on the 16th of February for my acl, I was wondering if there is a chance I could be awake for the surgery as I don’t like the thought of being put asleep, I believe I’ve only torn my acl a bit but it’s been 4 years since my injury


I appreciate your reply bill! I think am going to choose to be put to sleep for it as I looked up videos on YouTube which I shouldn’t have done lol, how long were you in getting your surgery?


Hi I have to have arthroscopic surgery the end off this month I’ve just been reading the comment s and not sure what I want to do , my right knee locks and the pain is so bad I’ve passed out , but it doesn’t happen all the time

Customer Service

Hi Julie,

Apart from the surgery, what have you tried to alleviate the pain?



Hi, I had chondromalacia and microfracture surgery in august. I believe the surgery helped me to a certain degree but I am still having trouble with it. I play college basketball so I have to be able to cut, jump, etc. but I keep getting a sharp pain when I am in a stance on defense, landing on my toes and bending down to absorb the landing, cutting, and trying to plant off that leg. Idk if it is tendinitis or what but I need help trying to figure this out because I am redshirting this year but I plan… Read more »

Customer Service

Hi Gunner,

What support are you looking for? Please let me know so I’m able to help you with that. Would you like to set up an appointment to speak directly to Bill? or Would you like information about our online coaching program “Knee Club” to help get you back on the court and ready for next year?


Steve evans

I am a enthusiast runner I run 50k a week 6 months ago I had surgery where my surgeon cut away a Un repairable part of my right meniscus and sewed the other part together I ceased running for 8 weeks felt fine and resumed my running over the following 4 weeks built it back to 50k everything was fine till a month ago when the clicking of the knee started again and the knee locked making it difficult to straighten just as it was previously i still run but at slow pace and less km I have had a… Read more »


I am not the expert here but I definitely would not remove all of the meniscus – especially if there’s no arthritis present! Perhaps someone else can chime in?


In my left knee I have acute tears on the interior of my lateral and medial menisci per my orthopedic surgeon. I Never had problems with my knee(s) until I had an ITB injury last April. Shortly after it healed, I did run a little during the injury, I began to fill pain in my knee during the beginning of my runs, it’d go away after what I assume was once it was warmed up, and then after. I continued to run getting my mileage back up to pre ITB injury levels. But as time went on it took longer… Read more »


Hi. My knee felt unstable and had swelling about 3 weeks ago. My surgeon removed some fluid and a few pieces of cartilage floating around. He the injected cortisone. All was fine for two weeks and then my knee started to feel unstable again and had some minor swelling. I have no pain. My doctor has now recommended chondroplasty. My worry is that I haven’t given the knee any significant rest, or tried any other remedies and I’m booked in for surgery in three days time. Is there a significant risk that I make things worse?

Henry Austin

I have 2 knee doctors one from VA the other aoutside doctor the VA doc wants to give me 3 Eufmexxa shots the other knee arthroscopy of lateral knee

Sariah Meagle

If joints such as the knee can benefit from arthroscopy because it can fix torn cartilage as you say, then it could mean that even using it as a diagnostic procedure could be great for me as well. This is because you mentioned that it is used to visually evaluate the condition of the joint, which means that if the doctor sees any abnormalities, I could get other treatments as a result. I do agree that I have to ask my doctor if it is necessary as you suggested since surgeries require significant time to heal that I’ll have to… Read more »

Liz Winston

49,256 lb female..had meniscus repair in right knerin Feb 2018..stilk havr pain in the inner right knee..I received cortisone shot and then orthovisc shots in July after the third shot still in pain. Still in MRI shoe a new tear..lost twenty lbs since surgery and trying to lose more but the pain in the knee is making me impatient. Should I let them do another arthroscopic surgery or do complete knee replacement? I am scheduled to get another opinion in two weeks.

Mark Sullivan

Hi, I am a 61 year old male that has been fighting with right knee pain for years. I went to a very reputable Orthopedic doctor who told me that my pain was related to what he called “”driving or movie theater” knee. Slightly bent and turned out. I had a series of three shots over 4 years. A steroid shot that seemed to help for about a year or so. Then twice I had Euflexxa shots. One lasted about a year and the other about 6 months. I decided to go to a new Orthopedic doctor (also reputable) who… Read more »


Hi Bill, I’m a 45 y/o competitive cyclist with, unfortunately, compromised knees from years ago. The knee Im questioning is the right. In 1998 I had an ACL reconstruction and partial medial meniscectomy from an older injury. Knee was asymptomatic until 13 weeks ago, when while pulling my I knee into flexion from extension (sitting at the table withy right leg extended), I felt a catch laterally at joint line. I could not flex or bend my knee without pain past 45 degrees, was able to fully extend. I wiggling tried to manipulate the loose piece out, which I imagine… Read more »


I have a 4 mm tear in my lateral meniscus. Do you think I should get surgery?


Actually, Exercising on the stationary bike seems to be working. No pain. Building strength and muscle back. I can walk fine. Climb stairs up/down no problem.. Just need to walk slow. I cannot rush or run. Accidentally twisting of the knee is the only time I experience a sharp pain.

I would not even consider surgery as it might even mess up more stuff and introduce more issues.


I’ m having a elongated acl and pcl grafts am missing my popliteus. My Doctor wants to explore my knee via arthroscopy since my recent MRT doesn’t really give enough clues on wheather or not there is something to fix about my condition (due to interference screws from the acl graft the MRT is shit). He wants to take out the screws and fill up the tunnels, but besides that there is nothing planed and there are no next steps mentioned. I can’t really decide on what to do… any advice


I have a diffuse Pain around the Front of the Knee/around the Patellar area. It sometimes runs down my shin and also in the back of the knee/calv area. I know I have a bum knee. And apparently it wasn´t really fixed properly. But I never experienced any issues with it. It all started while working out/squating with a sharp pain that calmed down quite fast. A few days after that this diffuse pain started and never went away since.


Hi Doctor, I just received word from my doctor and this was his findings after I got my MRI Impression Complex flap tear of posterior horn of medial meniscus, extending into the posterior meniscal root attachment. Anterior horn, body, and posterior horn lateral meniscus are intact. Mild superficial fibrillation of medial femoral condyle articular cartilage. Mild joint effusion and synovitis. Intact cruciate and collateral ligaments. I’m terrified of surgery. I absolutely don’t want to go for it. He asked me to speak with a surgeon for a possible knee scope. Please let me know if physical therapy would help me… Read more »


On August of this year while I was jogging I came down wrong and I have a tibial plateau fracture. I was on crutches for 7 weeks and in a brace. I’ve only seen a PA who said my injury was non operable. I did PT also, however my knee is still extremely swollen. I can walk on it but I can’t straighten it if I’m standing and walking can still be uncomfortable. The PA that I was seeing left the practice and also lost my MRI disk. I spoke with another on the phone and he was surpised I… Read more »


Hello, Bill., et al. My name is Suzanne. I’ve just turned 40 years of age. I have enjoyed good health and a fairly active lifestyle. Back in April, I suffered an injury to my left knee simply picking something up in my apartment. (I planted my foot squarely down to anchor myself, but, it was a bad decision: think bad form on an exercise lunge – and I heard the dreaded “pop!” “snap!” and knew something was wrong). I could walk for about 72 hours, but, not after that. A few weeks later, in May, I had an MRI taken.… Read more »


Hello Sir, I have a question about knee arthroscopy. I somehow ripped my cartilage bone in knee. So, I have to do 2 things, first get the floating piece out of the knee, and second do something about the gap (empty space) that got created (9mm x 4 mm) in cartilage bone. Question to you is which would be a better option for a 40+ year old male weighing 175 lb. Option-1 : Shave off/ re-surface the knee Option-2: Get a bone-graft from other person and have it patched in the empty space Option-3: Not suggested by any surgeon, am… Read more »

zingisa jonas

Hi, I had two athroscopies on the same knee due to torn cartilage. First athroscopy the surgeon trimmed, tidied the cartilage and stitched it together. Pain did not go away after 6month’s I did another athroscopy where surgeon found the stitches were torn and cartilage damaged again. He removed the stitches. Pain still did not go away, its been over a year now and the paun still persist. I was referred to surgeon again and he says I must do another athroscopy because the MRI results indicate that the cartilage is torn again. What if there’s not enough cartilage left.… Read more »


Have knee pain all the time. I have been diagnosed with patella femoral disorder. 3 rounds of pt just makes it hurt more. What next?

Christine Sanford

I was having significant pain in my right knee. An mri showed torn meniscus and some arthritis. In Nov 9th i had a knee scope and debridement. It has been more than 6 wks and i still have pain on the inner part of my knee . I wake several times a night with pain if my knee has been bent in one position. I seem to have pain at times in the muscles in the back of my knee. And when walking a lot my knee swells. Is this to be expected . Will it ease over a bit… Read more »


I was accidentally kicked on my inner knee about a month ago. Initially, I couldn’t put any weight on it and used crutches for a week and a half. Now I have pain/tenderness on my inner knee and some pain and a weird pressure on the outside of that knee. The pressure on the outside of my knee feels as if there is something pushing against something else. I had an MRI and it just showed a meniscus tear on the inside of my knee. I’m having surgery in a week. I want to know is it possible for something… Read more »


I am 15 years old and play football (soccer) all year round and after over extending my right knee last year I have been experiencing persistent pain.

My family doctor says my MRI showed significant bone swelling (or brushing) and this was due to an impact fracture.

Soon after I went for acupuncture and my acupuncturist who is also an othropedic surgeon said my MRI showed something closer to an acute ACL or PCL tear.

So to sum up my question: is arthroscopic sugary recomended in my case?

Any advice would be appreciated.


And to add more information to when I overextended my knee: when it happened I was playing soccer with my friends when suddenly I heard a very loud pop my knee gave out and I fell to the ground.

Afterwards my knee was very sore, swollen, and unstable. Although I thought something was wrong my mom (whom I was with at the time) told me I was fine and over exaggerating. It has been a year since all of this and I’m not sure if I may have made it worse by not going to the doctor.


The only thing my doctor said was that my knee would take time to heal but as a last resort he would book me in for arthroscopic surgery. And my mom is worried that instead of helping it will just make the problem worse so she does not agree with the idea.

Ayon Mukherji

This seems like a very interesting thread. I am a 15 year old, avid football (soccer) player. I was suffering knee pain, and decided to get it checked and MRI found that the cartilage b/w the patella and the knee was damaged, and the doctors said that the irritation to the bones or tissue caused by that disfigured cartilage was causing swelling in my knee. What added to the findings was that the affected leg, my right leg had far less muscl mas in the VMO and Quads. I am quite active and i work out often, and i wish… Read more »

Ayon Mukherji

So what has happened is that the cartilage below the Patella has rubbed against some bone and at one point formed a protrusion. Kind of like the knuckle in our hands.

Ayon Mukherji

Doc is suggesting Hyaluronic acid shots for 2-3 weeks. And then as the tension reduces, he would prescribe Physiotherapy.

At this point Arthoroscopy looks like it wont do much.

Your opinion?


Sir I had grade 1 tear in posterior horn of medial mensicus. doctor advised me small surgery but I would prefer holistic approach . Can you please tell how much time will it take if if I am dependent on just phyiotherapy and rest to get me to pre injury level. ?


I had injured my knee while playing soccer. While falling the knee had twisted a little bit. But I am not sure what is wrong with my knee because I seem to be walking fine. But while running, my knee just goes sidewinder a little bit. So could u tell me what is the actual problem that I’m having here. And can u please give me an advice of what kind of treatment can be done?


I have been having pains in my hips and knees. The cold effects them and it hurts to walk or stand for a period of time. I went and had blood work done and everything. My doctor sent me to a rheumatoid specialist. He said that I need to exercise when I first wake up. The exercises aren’t helping me and my hips have been cracking as well. Any tips on what I should do next?

Bo Galloway



I have a right lateral meniscus tear surgeon said I will need surgery but my knee doesn’t hurt I just feel restricted to bend it all the way. I’m also scared of playing sports again or doing squats and leg presses at the gym at this point. Not sure if I should do surgery or not. Do u have any suggestions?


My brother got injured and shoulder was dislocated.can you please suggest me which is the better option either keyhole or open surgery.if so what is the pros and con’s on that.


5 years ago while playing baseball i thought i heard a pop in my right knee. I went through Physio and seen a sports doctor in regards to the injury. Physio told me that i had a pull in the ligiments, the surgeon i spoke with claimed an ACL tear. After a couple years, i now have burning sensations behind my knee, went for an MRI and it appears i have a Vertical Complex Tear in my Meniscus. I’ve gone about my business without surgery so far, but was considering it due to the pain that i’ve been going through… Read more »


Hi i’ve never done this before but hoping to get some quick answers on expected recovery time for Lateral Release that i just had done yesterday in fact. I wasn’t given any directions on if i should start physio sooner than later. Only papers given were about followup appt on Nov 3. I should add i am 50 yrs old and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 43 but at the moment with meds my symptoms are controlled with respect to motor skills. But i do still need to be able to work on balance and i’m… Read more »

Knee Pain Support Team

Hi Maureen,

Thank you for contacting the Knee Pain Guru! We appreciate your email and we welcome your questions!

After reading your question, I feel that this will benefit many other subscribers in Bill’s Inner Circle by sending this over to him. I have submitted your question to Bill and he will address your concerns on the next live call.

For more information and call schedules, please click on the link below.

Feel free to reach out to us for further assistance.


Customer Support

Evan A.

Hi I am a 23 year old male, and have a partial tare on the horn of my miniscus. I also have a partial tare on my ACL. Sometimes my knee feels great, other times it’s sore and I need my splint. Do you think a month of great physical therapy would be suffice or do I NEED the surgery. (Knee scope). Doc says he doesn’t think I need ACL reconstruction, but he wants to take a “better look” while scoping my knee. PLEASE GIVE ME ADVICE!
Thank You.

Knee Pain Support Team

Hello Evan,

Thank you for reaching out to us! I suggest booking a free 30 min consultation/knee evaluation with Bill to discuss what your experiencing. Bill will be able to provide great advice and recommendations/solutions for whats going on. If your interested, please click on the link below to complete the consultation form and schedule a date and time that is best for you. Feel free to reach out to me for further assistance.

Kind regards,

Mimi | Customer Service

charles slattery

Folks have had problems with right knee was active and n sports when young and have had a couple bicycle wrecks lately and fell in Feb.hurting knee primary care doc said arthritis but knee surgeon says torn meniscus both sides wants to scope it. Have heard this is temp. as most have to have knee replaced after 2-10 years. Been doing yoga and seems to be helping. Can the scope do more harm than good removing too much and changing wear patterns in knee movement. Luckily have to get release from VA doctors and giving me time to check out… Read more »

Knee Pain Support Team

Hi Charles Another suggestion would be to join Bill’s Private FB Group, Knees for Life Inner Circle. When you join his inner circle, you gain the ability to interact with him in a private Facebook page, have a monthly group content call with him, and get the inside scoop on his upcoming events and programs. If your interested, please email me directly at and I’ll be happy to provide you with additional information. Right now, we have an early bird special going for $49 [Normal Price $99]. I hope to see you on the list! Kind regards, Mimi Customer… Read more »

Rick Moretti

62 year old male. Right knee pain. Overweight – 20 pounds. Never had knee problems before. Orthopedic Dr./Surgeon says osteoarthritis. A Doctor a couple years ago said the same thing but pain much worse this time.

X-ray shows little space between joints. MRI reveals tear. Surgeon says 50/50 on arthroscope to help. That doesn’t sound like good odds to me. Thinking of a second opinion but more importantly, seeing if I can avoid surgery through diet & exercise.

Your thoughts?

Thx – Rick

Knee Pain Support Team

Hello Rick!

Thank you for reaching out to us! I suggest booking a free 30 min consultation/knee evaluation with Bill to discuss what your experiencing. Bill will be able to provide great advice and recommendations/solutions for whats going on. If your interested, please click on the link below to complete the consultation form and schedule a date and time that is best for you. Feel free to reach out to me for further assistance.

Kind regards,

Mimi | Customer Service


I am a 43 year old women. I had a lateral release procedure done at 16 years of age. Then two years ago I had arthroscopic knee surgey for torn meniscus and when in there surgeon found that I had some articular cartlidge damage and cleaned in up. 6 months ago I started with knee pain again on the inside of my knee, was taking OTC meds but no help with pain. I finally went back to the orthopedic surgeon again last month. he took xrays but showed nothing. Had an MRI done again, and the report came back as… Read more »

Knee Pain Support Team

Hi there Kim!

Thank you for reaching out to us. To better assist you, I have emailed you directly.

Customer Support


Hello, Here is a little history prior to my question. I developed pain in right knee in August 2013 which limited my outdoor activities. After meeting with my family physician, he prescribed physical therapy. I completed eight weeks (Aug to Oct) of therapy but the result was less than satisfactory. I received some reduction in pain but my right knee maintained a large amount of fluid, pain and reduced movement. After an x-ray, MRI, draining the knee and consultation with a surgeon, the prognosis is a medial tear located on the horn of the meniscus with a dash of osteoarthritis… Read more »

Knee Pain Support Team

Hi there Tony!

Thank you for your patience. To better address your question, I have contacted you directly via email.

-Mimi|Customer Support

monica johnson

had a knee scope done on a monday and today is thursday. was instructed not participate in any stre ct stretching or strengthening exercises for a total of two weels, which is my scheduled follow up visit. is this norma?

Knee Pain Support Team

Hi Monica,

Thank you for reaching out to us! To better assist you, I have contacted you directly via email.

Kind regards,

Mimi |Customer Service


Type 2 lateral Meniscus in the left knee MRI showed inflammation along with liquid in the kneee Been doing PT been it still hurts (subtle pain but still there) from time to time been about 1.5 months since initial (only 2 weeks since diagnosis and PT) Dr i’m seeing says it can’t be healed without surgery and that it might become a type 3 then i’ll be forced to due surgery. can i resume normal activity (playing sports, soccer, squash, etc) with surgery? if so will the injury become worse? if i do surgery will i be able to resume… Read more »

Knee Pain Support Team


Thank you for thinking of us when it comes to your knee concerns. To better assist you, I have contacted you directly via email to provide you with information on your discomfort. Again, thank you for contacting the Knee Pain Guru and I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Kind regards,

Mimi|Customer Support


I am 47 years old women and I have lost my job and I lost health insurance during all this process I found out I have a torn meniscus on my knee. I have knee pain I don’t know if I should get insurance and then have the surgery.I have another factor I was awarded unemployment insurance and I am concern that if I open a disability claim I will loose my unemployment benefits that covers me until 2014. mean while I need to look for work.

Knee Pain Support Team


Thank you for contacting us regarding your concerns/discomfort. To better assist you, I have reached out to you directly via email and hope to hear from you soon,

Kind regards,

Mimi|Customer Support


Hi I have a undisplaced complex tear in posterior horn of the medial meniscus. Can anyone tell me what to expect ( start to finish ). Any info would be great. Thank you.

Harry Alleva

I had bi-lateral knee arthroscopy almost 10 months ago now. Recovery time was no where near what I was told. here I am 10 months later and only now am I where I was “before” the surgery! I had/have knee osteoarthritis and had meniscectomies done as well as cartilage debridement, on both knees. My advice, if you are told that your knee osteoarthritis condition can be improved with arthroscopy, don’t do it! Run the other way! Try anything and everything but “don’t” go the surgery route, no matter how promising your surgeon may make it sound.


Me too scopes on both knees twice,second time both at same time.47 yrs old,many hockey and ball games in my career.last scoped were 5yrs ago,now getting worse,have a he’ll of a time getting out of a chair or even walking.major pain,I’m not a sissy,but it’s getting unbearable.last tome I got a cortisone shot ,got a staff infection in my elbow. …..damn the luck.

lisa McMenamin

Good day, a few weeks ago my left knee popped. the pain increased as the days progressed. I finally went to a specialist. I am scheduled for surgery but have had conflictly reports about the time frame for recovery.
Incidently I tore my cartiledge and having arthoiscopy (spelling?)
can you give me some information. I work as a teacher and am on my legs most of the time.


dear docter, I am 46 male,5-6 height,weight 104kgs,I met with bike accident in 2010,my right knee was injured,now i am feeling pain while walking , sir, I need advice.. Is surgery required or not.. MRI RIGHT KNEE JOINTClinical details: PainOBSERVATIONS:Intramedullary hyperintense signals are noted in PDFS images involving distal shaft of femur -marrow oedema.Full thickness tear of anterior cruciate ligament is noted.Buckling of postero-central is noted without tear.Complex tear noted involving posterior horn of medial and lateral menisci.Rest of the menisci are normal.Lateral and medial collateral ligaments are intact.Tibial and femoral condyles and upper end of fibula are normal.Patella and… Read more »

Hafizur Rahman

In April this year 2012, my Right knee was hurt by others player while playing football. That was my suspected initial injury to my Lateral aspect of the RT knee Joint. After that whenever I try to sit on a floor for prayer or squat I felt pain in RT knee and give up my sitting due to pain. After a while my Knee pain was started to subside with my daily activities without any medical intervention. Right after 45 days of my initial injury, one day I was trying to do a “Yoga sitting Cross-Legged Position” (Buddhist Position) .On… Read more »


I tore the meniscus had the arthroscopic surgery may 2011 and he apparently removed the meniscus, sometimes it is in constant paid, sometimes none, sometimes the pain to walk stairs kills sometimes none, it’s weird. Now I am bone on bone and they want to do a knee replacement, but at 53 I don’t want to. The majority of the pain is on the inside of my knee . Now my other knee is going in sympathy with my right knee and has similar pain when in certain positions.
Any suggestions?


Subchrondroplasty might be an option. Read up

Ole lorenzetti

What is your opinion on cold laser surgery(non-invasive) for the knee.
I am using a ML 830 model from Microlight, 6 treatments so far and I feel my knee inproving!?
psychological or??

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Scroll to Top