Arthroscopy or arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed by orthopedic surgeons to visualize, examine, diagnose, and treat the problems inside a joint. During the procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision/cut in the skin above the joint and then inserts an arthroscope that has a small camera and light to magnify and illuminate the structures inside the joint. The camera displays the pictures on a screen, which helps the surgeon to examine the tissues inside the joint. It also helps the surgeon to guide and manipulate miniature surgical instruments inside the joint.
Why is Arthroscopy Necessary?
To diagnose the type of joint injuries/conditions, the doctor usually begins with a medical history, physical exam, and X-rays. Additional imaging tests like MRI or CT scan may also be required. However, arthroscopy may help in making the final diagnosis, which may be more accurate than from other diagnostic procedures. Through Arthroscopy, your doctor can directly look inside the joint, examine the tissues, and find out the exact cause of the condition.
When is Hip arthroscopy recommended?
Hip arthroscopy is recommended by an orthopedic surgeon when you have a painful condition that is not improving with nonsurgical treatment methods. It may relieve painful symptoms caused due to injury of the labrum, cartilage, or other soft tissues. Many orthopedic hip conditions can be treated by using arthroscope such as:
When is knee arthroscopy recommended?
Knee arthroscopy can relieve painful symptoms of many conditions that lead to the damage of cartilage and other soft tissues in the joint.
Common arthroscopic procedures for the knee are:
- Removal or repair of a torn meniscus
- Removal of inflamed synovial tissue
- Removal of fragments of cartilage or bone
- Reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament
- Trimming of damaged articular cartilage
- Treatment of knee sepsis (infection)
- Treatment of patella (kneecap) problems
When is shoulder arthroscopy advised?
Injury, age-related wear and tear and overuse are responsible for most of the shoulder issues. Shoulder arthroscopy may help in relieving painful symptoms of many conditions that damage the labrum, rotator cuff, cartilage, and other soft tissues of the joint.
Common arthroscopic procedures for the shoulder joint are:
What happens during arthroscopic surgery?
Each procedure varies, but generally, all arthroscopic surgeries follow this process:
- The patient is given general, local, or spinal anesthesia
- A small incision is made on the skin
- An arthroscope is introduced through the incision
- Few more small incisions are made to insert other miniature surgical tools
- Images about the interior of the joint are displayed on a screen
- Corrective surgery, if required, can be done during the initial diagnostic procedure
- Dressings or bandages are applied on the incisions
Recovery time depends on the type of injury and procedure performed. However, most arthroscopic surgeries are done as an outpatient procedure. This means you can go home on the same day of the surgery. Most of the patients get back to their normal activity in a few days or weeks.