by EBSCO Medical Review Board
(Arthroscopic Chondroplasty)


Chondroplasty is surgery to smooth or trim cartilage that is damaged by disease or injury. It is often done in joints.

Reasons for Procedure

This surgery is done to allow cartilage to move more smoothly. This will also ease pain and swelling.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to blood vessels, nerves, or other tissue

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Whether you need a ride to and from surgery


The doctor may give:

  • Local anesthesia—the area will be numbed
  • General anesthesia—you will be asleep
  • Spinal anesthesia—you will be numb from the belly down

Description of the Procedure

Tiny incisions will be made in the skin. A scope will be inserted through one incision. The scope has a camera on the end. Images will be viewed on a nearby monitor. Other tools will be inserted through the incisions to smooth or trim cartilage. The tools will be removed. The incisions will be closed with stitches. A bandage will be placed over the area.

How Long Will It Take?

Usually less than an hour. It make take longer depending on the repairs that need to be made.

Will It Hurt?

Pain and swelling are common in the first few weeks. Medicine and home care help.

Average Hospital Stay

Most people go home the same day. If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer.

Post-procedure Care

At the Hospital

Right after the procedure, the staff may give you pain medicines.

At Home

It will take 4 to 6 weeks to fully heal. Physical activity may need to be limited during recovery.

Problems to Look Out For

Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incisions
  • Pain that you cannot control with medicine

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.


Arthritis Foundation 

OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 


Arthritis Society 

When It Hurts to Move—Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation 


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Osteochondritis dissecans. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed January 20, 2021.

Patellofemoral arthritis. OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: Accessed January 20, 2021.

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Revision Information