Last reviewed 01/2018

Arthroscopy is now a standard procedure for investigating and treating problems with the larger joints. Usually with the patient anaesthetised, the joint cavity is filled with saline and a telescope introduced so that procedures can be carried out under direct vision.

With arthroscopy it is possible to perform:

  • joint washouts of loose osteophytes and traumatic debris
  • debridement of damaged tissue such as of the torn segment of a damaged meniscus
  • cartilage shaving of irregular surfaces
  • biopsy of abnormal tissue

NICE state that "..Current evidence suggests that arthroscopic knee washout alone should not be used as a treatment for osteoarthritis because it cannot demonstrate clinically useful benefit in the short or long term.."(1)


  1. NICE (August 2007).Arthroscopic knee washout, with or without debridement, for the treatment of osteoarthritis.