Is Arthroscopy Right for You?

Nowadays, there are a variety of techniques orthopaedists can use to diagnose and treat joint pain. One of these commonly used methods is known as arthroscopy, whose name comes from the Greek word “arthro” for joint and “skopein” which means to look. As this suggests, an arthroscopy is a procedure by which your doctor will be able to look inside your knee, ankle, hip, shoulder, elbow, or wrist joint. In some cases, your surgeon may also be able to repair the problem in a minimally invasive way without the need for open surgery. In these cases, it is known as arthroscopic surgery. 

Arthroscopy, or arthroscopic surgery, is performed by making a tiny incision that allows for the insertion of pencil-sized instruments used to illuminate and magnify the structures within the joint. These instruments transmit an image to a screen so that the surgeon can properly diagnose the problem. It is performed with the use of general, local, or spinal anesthetics as an outpatient procedure in a hospital setting. Since anesthetics are used, arthroscopy also requires a brief observation period after surgery in a recovery room before being discharged. 

Orthopaedic surgeons generally recommend arthroscopy when other diagnostic imaging studies have failed to provide an exact diagnosis. Additionally, arthroscopic surgery may be recommended to treat certain conditions that affect the knee, ankle, hip, shoulder, elbow, or wrist joints. This is because arthroscopic surgery is far less invasive than open surgery and has a much faster recovery time with less patient discomfort. Conditions that can be treated with arthroscopy include: 

Knee

Ankle

Hip

Shoulder

Elbow

Wrist

After arthroscopic surgery, there will be tiny puncture wounds where the instruments were inserted. These will likely be stitched closed and covered with surgical bandages. As the wounds heal, they will need to be kept dry. After about 1-2 weeks, your surgeon will remove any non-dissolvable stitches. 

In most cases, people who have undergone arthroscopy return to work or school within a few days following surgery. However, it will take several weeks for the joint to completely heal. Because of this, your surgeon will provide you with post-surgical guidelines to follow. These guidelines will vary depending on the condition treated with arthroscopy. In most cases, you can expect to attend physical therapy following surgery in order to continue treating the condition and help you recover faster. 

Overall, arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive technique used by orthopaedic surgeons to treat a range of conditions that affect the knee, ankle, hip, shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints. It is used both as a diagnostic tool and minimally invasive surgical procedure that offers an alternative to open surgery. Since tiny incisions eliminate the need to cut through muscles and other soft tissues to reach the joint, arthroscopy also offers a faster, less painful recovery period. 

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