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.
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
- Blood clots
- Damage to blood vessels, nerves, or other tissue
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
- 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.
Right after the procedure, the staff may give you pain medicines.
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 https://www.arthritis.org
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons https://www.orthoinfo.org
Arthritis Society https://www.arthritis.ca
When It Hurts to Move—Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation https://www.whenithurtstomove.org
Arthroscopy. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.org/en/treatment/arthroscopy. Accessed December 19, 2017.
Bauer KL, Polousky JD. Management of Osteochondritis Dissecans Lesions of the Knee, Elbow and Ankle. Clin Sports Med 2017 Jul;36(3):469-487.
Katz JN, Brownlee SA, et al. The role of arthroscopy in the management of knee osteoarthritis. Best Pract Res Clin Rheum. 2014;28:143-156.
Osteochondritis dissecans. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/osteochondritis-dissecans-19. Accessed January 20, 2021.
Patellofemoral arthritis. OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/patellofemoral-arthritis. Accessed January 20, 2021.
Pitta M, Davis W 3rd, et al. Arthroscopic management of osteoarthritis. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2016;24(2):74-82.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
- Review Date: 06/2021
- Update Date: 06/21/2021