The arthroscope is a small fiber-optic viewing instrument made up of a tiny lens, light source and video camera. The surgical instruments used in arthroscopic surgery are very small (only 3 or 4 mm in diameter), but appear much larger when viewed through an arthroscope.
The television camera attached to the arthroscope displays the image of the joint on a television screen, allowing the surgeon to look throughout the knee at cartilage and ligaments, and under the patella.
Then the surgeon makes two or three small incisions (about 1/4 of an inch), around the knee joint area. Each incision is called a portal. In one portal, the arthroscope is inserted to view the knee joint. Along with the arthroscope, a sterile solution is pumped into the joint which expands the viewing area, giving the surgeon a clear view and room to work. The other portals are used for the insertion of tiny surgical instruments.
With the images from the arthroscope as a guide, your surgeon can look at the menisci and confirm the type, location, and extent of the tear. Once your surgeon has located the meniscal tear, surgical scissors and shavers are inserted into the portals to remove the torn menisci. In partial meniscectomy only the torn part of the tissue is removed leaving the intact tissue in place with edges smoothed.