Understanding the Risks

Complications resulting from arthroscopic surgery are rare, but as with any surgery, there are risks.  When complications do occur, they often are minor and easily treatable.  Be sure to discuss these risks with your physician to make sure arthroscopic surgery is right for you.
     

How You Can Support a Healthy Outcome

To avoid the risk of complications, be sure to take these simple precautions:

  • Tell your surgeon and the anesthesiologist what medications you are taking.  Be sure they are aware of any allergies you might have as well.
  • Follow the precautions your surgeon recommends for avoiding infection, including special cleaning regimens prior to surgery and the use of antibiotics, when appropriate.
  • Keep the area of surgery elevated above the heart for the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery.  If you have had knee surgery, avoid bending your knee at a 90-degree angle for excessive periods of time.  If you experience excessive tightening of the calf, swelling or pain after surgery, this may be a sign of phlebitis.  Report these symptoms to your surgeon immediately.
 

Evaluating Your Options

Potential complications from arthroscopic surgery include those related to:

  • Anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Excessive bleeding or swelling
  • Phlebitis (deep vein thrombosis or blood clots)
  • Nerve damage
  • Numbness or pain, which usually diminishes with time
  • Instrument breakage
    • When this happens, which is rare, the surgeon will remove the piece through a small incision