Arthroscopes were found in a recent study to have rates of bacterial contamination. Should you worry if you're going to have arthroscopic surgery? Probably not however… there is one other factor that is worth noting. First, however, by way of background let me state that the infection rate after simple arthroscopic surgery (not combined with a more complicated open procedure) is extremely low, far less than 1%. However, a recent study in Medicare patients has shown that the incidence substantially increases if cortisone injection is given at the time of the arthroscopic procedure. The rate is still very low, still less than 1% but higher than if no cortisone were given. So, unless there is a good reason to inject cortisone, it should be avoided. This is yet another reason why I very rarely use cortisone in my office practice and never inject it at surgery. And the very low incidence is why you should not worry if an arthroscopic procedure needs to be performed.