Getting ready

After your doctor refers you for an arthroscopy, you’ll get a letter or an email with details of your procedure.

Depending on the type of arthroscopy, you may need to go to the hospital or clinic for a health check before your arthroscopy. This appointment will be on a different day.

During this appointment, a doctor or nurse will check your general health to make sure you're well enough for keyhole surgery.

Before your surgery you'll usually receive information about:

Planning for the procedure

You may need to take time off work after an arthroscopy.

It’s normal to have some pain for a few days afterwards, so it’s a good idea to have painkillers, such as paracetamol, at home.

Knee, hip or ankle arthroscopy

If you’re having a knee, hip or ankle arthroscopy you will probably need crutches for a few days and may have problems with stairs.

Driving after an arthroscopy

It will not be safe for you to drive until you can do an emergency stop and your arms are strong enough to fully control the steering wheel. This may take up to several months depending on the type of arthroscopy you are having.

General anaesthetic

If you are having a general anaesthetic (where you’re asleep for the arthroscopy), a friend or family member will need to collect you from the hospital and take you home. Someone will also need to stay with you for at least 24 hours after your arthroscopy.

It’s important not to drink or eat for several hours before a general anaesthetic. The hospital or clinic will give your more information.

Getting ready on the day

Have a shower or bath the morning of your arthroscopy, or the night before. Cleaning your skin will reduce your risk of infection.

Bring any medicines that you usually take to your appointment.

Page last reviewed: 10 June 2022
Next review due: 10 June 2022