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Historical Development

In 1919, Professor Kenji Takagi from Japan performed the first knee arthroscopy using a 7.3 mm cystoscope. In the 1920s, Eugen Bircher publicised the use of knee arthroscopy for diagnostic purposes (1). Masaki Watanabe was the first to carry out interventional arthroscopy (2,3).

It was not until the 1980s that shoulder arthroscopy was developed. Diagnostic shoulder arthroscopy was helpful in identifying previously undiagnosed conditions, such as SLAP lesions. The first interventional procedure was arthroscopic subacromial decompression.

Since the 1990s, with great technological advances and development of specific instruments, shoulder arthroscopy is commonly used for acromioclavicular osteoarthritis, rotator cuff tears, adhesive capsulitis, biceps pathologies, SLAP lesions and instability.

Kieser CW, Jackson RW (2003). “Eugen Bircher (1882-1956) the first knee surgeon to use diagnostic arthroscopy”. Arthroscopy 19 (7): 771–6.

Watanabe M: History arthroscopic surgery. In Shahriaree H (first edition): O’Connor’s Textbook of Arthroscopic surgery. Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott Co., 1983.

Jackson RW (1987). “Memories of the early days of arthroscopy: 1965-1975. The formative years”. Arthroscopy 3 (1): 1–3.

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