Needle Arthroscopy

What is it and how is it performed?

Needle Arthroscopy

Needle arthroscopy is an innovative procedure utilized by our physicians to provide a real-time diagnosis. A possible alternative to MRI, this hand-held arthroscope provides our surgeons, and you, instant, accurate answers.


Unlike a traditional diagnostic arthroscopy, this procedure is done while you remain awake using a local numbing of the joint. The needle and camera design streamlines the procedure allowing you to get answers to your joint pain immediately.

1. Sterile the procedure site

2. A local anesthetic is provided to numb skin and surrounding area to reduce pain

3. The doctor inserts the needle-camera into the joint

4. The doctor examines joint and views a vivid picture on an HD tablet, providing real-time diagnosis

5. After the procedure, which lasts approximately 5-10 min, the area is covered with a bandage and patient returns to normal activities and determines a treatment plan with the physician.

Needle Arthroscopy Benefits

An injured knee or shoulder may take weeks to visualize and diagnose with an MRI. This diagnostic procedure is faster, providing real-time, vivid imaging that benefits both patient and doctor with the answers necessary to determine the best treatment – all in just one visit. Typically, patients are able to spend less time waiting for results, more time getting back on the road to recovery.

In a a study published in the Journal of Arthroscopy, the accuracy, sensitivity and specificity of needle arthroscopy was equivalent to surgical diagnostic arthroscopy and more accurate than MRI.

Needle  arthroscopy is also a safe alternative diagnostic plan for patients who are not candidates for an MRI.


This arthroscope technique is ideal for patients who want immediate answers. It is also ideal for patients who are not candidates for MRIs.  Injuries to the shoulder, knee, elbow and hip can potentially be diagnosed through this procedure.

Risks, Side Effects, Coverage

This procedure cannot be performed on patients with an active infection.  Patients have tolerated the procedure very well, with most reporting little to no pain. It is important to note that every patient is different, and pain may be variable. In some cases, an MRI may still be necessary if incomplete visualization of the joint occurs.

Most major insurance carriers cover the procedures. Some insurances do require prior authorization. However, validated procedural history has indicated that prior authorization is patient and plan dependent. Needle arthroscopy is typically more cost effective than an MRI.

Sano Orthopedics is the first orthopedic practice in Kansas City to utilize this technology. There will always be a place for MRI, but we see an opportunity for this tool as well. We are committed to technique innovation and transparency in results, both of which this procedure exemplifies.  Not only does it offer so many benefits to our patients today, this is just the tip of the iceberg on what we foresee in treating orthopedic conditions.

Contact Our Care Team!

(816) 525-2840


Our Locations:

Overland Park, KS

12330 Metcalf Ave., Suite 400
Overland Park KS 66213

Lee's Summit, MO

2000 SE Blue Pkwy #230
Lee's Summit, MO 64063


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