Arthroscopy has reduced the morbidity and period of hospitalisation associated with orthopaedic surgery and has increased the range of procedures that may be performed.From early operations on the knee it has expanded to include procedures for the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, ankle, and foot. For some joints the indications for surgery are clear, for others the clinical advantages are still being assessed. This expansion has also led to the recognition of complications, though the incidence is low. Specialist instrumentation has allowed a wide variety of operations previously needing open surgery to be carried out arthroscopically. The repertoire of arthroscopic procedures will undoubtedly continue to expand, and controlled studies are required to validate their efficacy, particularly in the management of degenerative joint diseases.