An arthroscope is a rigid telescope fitted with a lens system and fiber-optic illumination that is inserted into a joint through a small ("keyhole") incision and generates a magnified picture of the joint interior that can be viewed on a video screen. The diameter of arthroscopes ranges from 2 millmeters for small joints to 5 millimeters for larger joints.
Arthroscopy is performed in a hospital or clinic, usually by an orthopedic surgeon. The use of either general or local anesthesia depends on which joint is being tested.
During arthroscopy, a biopsy or percutaneous surgery may be carried out.