It is especially useful for professional athletes, who frequently injure knee joints and require fast healing time. There is also less scarring, because of the smaller incisions. Irrigation fluid is used to distend the joint and make a surgical space. Sometimes this fluid leaks into the surrounding soft tissue, causing edema.
The surgical instruments are smaller than traditional instruments. Surgeons view the joint area on a video monitor, and can diagnose and repair torn joint tissue, such as ligaments. It is technically possible to do an arthroscopic examination of almost every joint, but is most commonly used for the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, ankle, foot, and hip.