Allrounder Andrew Symonds is set to miss the start of Australia's back-to-back one-day series against South Africa and New Zealand after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.

Symonds had the surgery on Wednesday after battling right knee pain in the opening two Test losses against the Proteas and being ruled out of the third Test at the SCG starting on Saturday.

A Cricket Australia statement on Thursday said Symonds developed the pain during the first Test at the WACA.

He will miss the Twenty20 internationals against South Africa on January 11 and 13 but it's hoped he'll be fit to return at some stage during the program of five one-day internationals against the Proteas then five against New Zealand between January 16 and February 13.

"Although there were some minor signs of wearing, the main problem was loose fragments of cartilage that were jamming in the joint, which were removed," said Cricket Australia doctor Trefor James.

"We will monitor Andrew's progress in the coming weeks, but are hopeful he will become available for selection at some point during the Commonwealth Bank Series against South Africa or New Zealand."