What is Arthroscopy?
The term arthroscopy basically means to look into the joint. (Arthro means joint, and scopy means look.) So the common phrase scope the joint means to insert an arthroscope into the joint and have a look. Over the past several years, the development of very small video cameras and specialized instruments have allowed surgeons to do more than simply take a look into the joint. So now it is a surgical procedure we as Arthroscopic surgeons use to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint.
In an arthroscopic examination, we make a small incision in the patient’s skin and then insert pencil-sized instruments that contain a small lens and lighting system to magnify and illuminate the structures inside the joint. Light is transmitted through fiber optics to the end of the arthroscope that is inserted into the joint. By attaching the arthroscope to a miniature television camera, we are able to see the interior of the joint through this very small incision rather than a large incision needed for surgery.
The television camera attached to the arthroscope displays the image of the joint on a television screen, allowing us to look, for example, throughout the knee. This lets us see the cartilage, ligaments, and under the kneecap. We can determine the amount or type of injury and then repair or correct the problem, if it is necessary.
Advantages of Arthroscopy
Arthroscopy causes less damage to normal structures by requiring much smaller incisions through the joint capsule and ligaments around the joint. Arthroscopy also allows the joint to remain closed and reduces the risk of infection and drying out of the articular cartilage. Because of this, the healing time for most arthroscopic procedures is greatly reduced. Rehabilitation is faster, and unnecessary damage to normal structures is avoided. Arthroscopy has also greatly expanded our understanding of problems around the joints. In many cases, conditions which were completely unknown before the invention of the arthroscope have been discovered and are now being treated very effectively with arthroscopic surgery.
Rarely does an arthroscopic procedure require an overnight stay. Usually patients arrive a few hours before the procedure is scheduled to undergo preparation. The procedure itself takes an hour or two, and then most patients are ready to go home (most often with the help of a friend or loved one) an hour or two later.
That depends on many factors, including your general physical condition. You may well have to go on an exercise program for a few weeks before the procedure to strengthen your muscles and joints, which will hasten recuperation after surgery. Most patients have to slow down their activities for several days while resting and elevating the knee. Normal function can be expected within a few weeks.
- ACL and PCL Reconstruction
- Meniscectomy and Knee Joint Debridement.
- Rotator cuff repair and Other Shoulder problems.
- Diagnostic and therapeutic arthroscopy of joints like knee, shoulder, hip, ankle, elbow and wrist.