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What is an arthroscopy?

An arthroscopy is the examination of the inside of a joint, using a special telescopic instrument inserted through a small incision. It can be both diagnostic, where a diagnosis can be made to find out what is wrong with the joint, and therapeutic,where correction of the injury or problem is made within the joint.

How long will it take?

The operation takes about 45 minutes to one hour. This includes the anaesthetic, the operation and the time spent in the recovery room. Your child will be required to stay in the Day Unit for approximately two to four hours following surgery.

When can my child eat and drink again?

If your child is awake on return to the Day Unit, clear fluids may be offered immediately. A light diet will be offered when fully awake.

Care at home

Pain relief

  • Have some paracetamol at home. It can be given as per the instructions on the product packaging for the first three to five days after the operation to relieve discomfort.
  • Give other pain relief medicine if advised.
  • DO NOT give aspirin.


It is not uncommon for children to vomit on the night of the operation.

If your child is vomiting, give sips of clear fluids, try a piece of dry toast or a cracker biscuit and increase the amounts as tolerated until the vomiting settles.

If vomiting continues after 24 hours seek medical advice.


Usually a steristrip dressing and bandage cover the operation site. The bandage can be removed in four days and allow the steristrips to fall off.


Your child should take it easy for at least two to three days. Keep leg elevated as much as possible on day of surgery.

Depending on the reason for the arthroscopy, physiotherapy and the use of crutches may be needed. The nursing staff will contact the physiotherapist for this.

Emergency contact


To ensure your child receives the best possible care in an emergency, you should call 000 or go to your closest hospital that treats children.

If you have any concerns or questions please contact your doctor.

Contact your doctor if:

  • increased redness, swelling or drainage at the wound site
  • there is unusual pain in your child’s knee that is not relieved by paracetamol or other recommended pain relief
  • your child develops swelling in their calf or thigh that is not relieved by elevating the affected leg for at least one hour
  • your child develops a fever, higher than 38 degrees Celsius or chills.

Contact Mater Children’s Private Brisbane

Salmon Building,

Raymond Terrace,

South Brisbane QLD 4101

Telephone: 07 3163 8111



Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-470004
Last modified 25/3/2019.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 22/6/2015
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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