Athletic disorders are frequently treated with arthroscopic surgery. Few advances in surgical techniques have been as beneficial as the development of arthroscopic surgery. An arthroscopic procedure greatly reduces the invasiveness of surgery. A surgeon can make a few small incisions instead of a large incision.
- Less surgical invasiveness can improve recovery time after surgery.
- The most common types of arthroscopic surgery include removal or repair of a torn meniscus, removal of loose debris, ligament reconstruction and trimming damaged cartilage.
- Arthroscopy is less invasive and less traumatic to the muscles, ligaments, and tissues than the method of surgical opening of the knee with long incisions, also known as an arthrotomy.
- The benefits of arthroscopy can include: smaller incisions, a quicker recovery, and less scarring.
- Arthroscopic surgical procedures are usually performed on an outpatient basis and typically the patient returns home the same day.
Surgeons position a small camera so they can see inside the joint – easily examining, diagnosing and treating problems. The surgeon can operate small specialized instruments to perform joint surgery without large incisions.
Post-operatively, some injuries respond best to physical therapy.
Arthroscopic surgeons can diagnose and surgically treat:
- A wide range of joint problems such as mild to moderate arthritis and ligament tears
- Most regions of the knee.
- Shoulder, ankle, wrist, elbow, and hip
How Arthroscopy works
A primary tool of this surgery is the arthroscope, a small fiber-optic viewing instrument, which projects images onto a monitor, allowing the surgeon to look deep inside the joint. A camera is inserted into the joint through a small incision of about one centimeter. The arthroscopic surgery camera is attached to a fiber optic light source and shows a picture of the inside of the joint on a television monitor so the operating team is aware of the type of surgical procedure being conducted. The arthroscope can be placed and positioned within the joint to give detailed views of internal structures, providing surgeons with an excellent tool to examine, diagnosis and treat patients.
Fluid is inserted into the joint to allow more visibility, maneuverability and to remove any debris. The procedure is performed under anesthesia and the inside of the joint is examined for damaged tissue. One or more other incisions are made to insert specially designed instruments that can treat the underlying problem. For example, a shaver can be inserted to trim the edges of a cartilage tear.
- The arthroscope is a small fiber-optic viewing instrument carrying a miniature lens, light source and video camera.
- These petite 3-4 mm diameter surgical instruments used in arthroscopic surgery appear large when viewed through an arthroscope.
- The surgeon inserts the arthroscope and surgical instruments into the joint through small incisions of about .25 inches each called portals.
Arthroscopic surgery is a common orthopedic procedure that is used to diagnose and treat problems in joints. The word “arthroscopy” comes from two Greek words: ‘arthro,’ meaning “joint,” and ‘scope,’ meaning “look.” Arthroscopic surgery simply means to look inside a joint.
Arthroscopic surgery is most commonly performed on the knee and shoulder joints, but can also be used to treat conditions of the ankle, elbow, wrist, and hip.