The small puncture wounds from an arthroscopy heal within several days of the surgery, and the operative dressing can normally be taken off the following morning, according to OrthoInfo. Although the joint may take several weeks to recover fully, patients can often return to work or school after several days.
Some patients can return to athletic activities within several weeks of the procedure depending on their physical condition, but exact recovery time depends on the individual's specific diagnosis and pre-existing conditions, as affirmed by OrthoInfo. Doctors may suggest patients undergo rehabilitation therapy or engage in certain activities to hasten recovery and keep the joint working well. An arthroscopy is generally less invasive than an open surgery. It is often performed on an outpatient basis, so individuals can return home on the day of the procedure. Before being discharged, patients receive instructions on which activities to avoid and how to care for the incisions.
Complications occur in less than 1 percent of arthroscopic procedures but may include infection, excessive swelling, excessive bleeding, nerve damage, blood clots in a vein, blood vessel damage, or instrument breakage during surgery, according to OrthoInfo. If the surgeon discovers during the procedure that the problem cannot be solved with an arthroscopy and may require open surgery, he may either complete the alternative procedure while the patient is anesthetized or schedule another surgery when the patient is conscious.