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Des Moines, Iowa 50321
Phone(515) 280-3100

ISU Student Experience


Arthroscopy is the evaluation of joints with a small rigid endoscope. It is one of many tools to evaluate and treat orthopedic conditions and is often combined with other diagnostics such as x-rays, computed tomography or MRI and can be used in concert with other surgical procedures such as fracture repair or corrective osteotomies to treat joint disease.

Arthroscopy allows inspection of many joints, including the hip, stifle, hock, shoulder, elbow, and carpus (wrist) through small incisions, resulting in reduced lameness and quicker recovery compared to surgery through larger joint incisions. In addition, arthroscopy allows a magnified view with excellent illumination and is often the most accurate way of making a diagnosis of subtle joint abnormalities or injuries. In addition to making a diagnosis, arthroscopy also allows treatment of certain conditions and can be associated with better outcome than open joint incision in some cases.

While many joints can be evaluated and treated arthroscopically, shoulder, elbow, and stifle arthroscopy are by far the most commonly performed procedures. In the shoulder, treatment of loose cartilage (OCD) and biceps tendon inflammation are most commonly performed. Arthroscopy is the treatment of choice for developmental elbow disease such as a fragmented coronoid process, and meniscal injuries in the stifle. Depending on the exact joint and underlying problem, many patients are able to return home the same day of surgery and experience minimal pain and swelling.

The IVS surgery team is dedicated to offering the newest and least invasive surgical technology, and arthroscopy is an example of that dedication. Call us if you have any questions about arthroscopy or treatment of your pet’s joint condition or if you would like to know more about the benefits of minimally invasive surgery.


Orthopedic conditions that can be diagnosed or treated arthroscopically:

  • Shoulder OCD
  • Biceps tendon disease
  • Elbow dysplasia/ fragmented medial coronoid process/ medial compartment disease
  • Meniscus tears/ cranial cruciate ligament rupture
  • Elbow, stifle, hock OCD
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Fractures involving joints
  • Shoulder instability



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