Short-term results (six months to two years) after arthroscopic surgery for mild to moderate arthritis are good. Reports show at least 75 percent (three-fourths) of all patients get better. The have less pain and more function.
After three years, only half the patients stay pain free. Those with rough cartilage behind the knee cap (a condition called chondromalacia) often have return of painful symptoms. Patients who are overweight have pain much more often than patients of normal weight.
Patients with mild degenerative changes but no arthritis who aren't overweight have the best results with arthroscopic surgery.