What is Arthroscopy?ant01

Arthroscopy is an orthopaedic surgical procedure that’s used to visualize, diagnose and finally, treat conditions inside a joint. The term comes from the Greek words arthro and skopein, meaning “to look within the joint.”

To perform an arthroscopy to examine a joint, a surgeon begins with a tiny incision in the skin and inserts very thin instruments with a light and a lens to magnify the structures of the joint.

Arthroscopic surgery is considered a minimally invasive procedure that is typically used to examine damage although it can also be used to treat problems through the use of an arthroscope. This procedure is most commonly used to identify and evaluate and treat common orthopaedic problems, including torn floating cartilage, ACL reconstruction and trimming away cartilage that has been damaged.


Benefits of Arthroscopic Surgeryant03

Arthroscopy offers a very clear advantage of traditional surgery as it does not require fully opening the joint. Arthroscopy can dramatically reduce recovery time and improve success by creating less trauma to the surrounding tissue. It’s an especially common procedure among professional athletes who require a short recovery time and suffer from frequent injury to the knee joints. Arthroscopic surgery also results in less scarring because a few small incisions are made rather than one large incision to fully open the joint.


How is Arthroscopic Surgery Performed?ant02

Like traditional surgery, arthroscopy requires anesthesia as well as an outpatient surgical room or an operating room. Depending on the location of the joint, local, spinal or general anesthesia will be used.

Arthroscopic surgery can be performed on nearly any joint in the body, although the most common are the knee, elbow, shoulder, ankle and wrist joints. The instruments involved are much smaller than regular surgical instruments so surgeons use a video monitor to view the joint, diagnose the condition and make repairs to damaged tissue.

A tiny incision is first made to create room for the arthroscope, although a few other small incisions may be made to accommodate additional surgical instruments or view other areas of the joint. Specialized instruments may also be used to perform corrective surgery.


Recovery Time

It will take up to one week for the small incisions to heal fully, although the dressing can usually be removed less than 24 hours following arthroscopy. Adhesive strips are traditionally applied to cover the incisions while they heal. The incisions and the joint will be tender, although the pain should not be extreme. It will take up to 4 weeks for the joint to fully heal and physical therapy or rehabilitation may be recommended to improve recovery time and restore full function.

Most patients return to their regular activities within days following the procedure and athletes may resume normal athletic activities in just a few short weeks. It’s important to remember, however, that each procedure is unique and recovery times can vary.