Being an athlete definitely has its ups and downs. On one hand, many athletes absolutely love their sport and relish in the routine of practicing and competing. On the other hand, however, being an athlete significantly increases the risk of eventually sustaining some type of traumatic injury or a painful condition caused by overusing one part of the body.
When this happens, many athletes simply want to find a way to eliminate their pain and get back into the game as soon as possible. In some cases, rest may be enough to allow for proper healing. In other cases, for example when a muscle, tendon, or ligament is torn, arthroscopic surgery may be recommended.
Arthroscopic surgery, also known simply as arthroscopy, is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure that is performed using a tiny camera and special instruments inserted into a small incision. With the use of this small camera for visualization, the surgeon is able to operate within the body without needing to “open up” the affected area. Arthroscopic surgery can be performed to treat the following conditions/injuries:
- ACL tears
- AC joint arthritis and separations
- Bursitis and impingement
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Cartilage damage
- Knee dislocation
- Ligament tears
- Meniscus tears
- Shoulder joint fractures or dislocation
- SLAP and Bankart labral tears
When treating athletes with sports injuries, many sports orthopaedists recommend treating the affected area using arthroscopy because of its main benefits. Some main benefits of arthroscopy for athletes include:
This is a key reason why arthroscopy is ideal for repairing sports injuries in athletes. Since arthroscopy is a minimally-invasive procedure that is performed through a few tiny incisions, this drastically reduces recovery time and promotes faster healing. Many athletes find this appealing since they are often impatient to get back to their sport.
Another key reason why arthroscopy is ideal for athletes is due to the fact that it localizes the surgical procedure to the affected area without disturbing the surrounding tissues. Unfortunately with open surgery, many surrounding structures are affected besides the actual structures being worked on. Not only does this increase recovery time, but it can also increase the risk of postoperative pain and/or future issues with the surrounding structures. However, arthroscopy significantly decreases these risks by only disturbing the structures within the surgical area.
Using a minimally invasive surgical technique also decreases the amount of scaring. When people think about scars, they most often think about incision scars. While arthroscopy scars are much smaller than open surgery scars, the external scar is not the only type of scaring that is decreased. In fact, arthroscopic surgery also reduces internal scarring and the formation of scar tissue as well. In the joints, this is important because it preserves joint mobility and flexibility.
Finally, having arthroscopic surgery is far less stressful than having traditional open surgery. For starters, arthroscopies are performed as outpatient procedures. This means that you will be able to return home once you have woken up from anesthesia. Many patients find this to be preferential to staying the night in the hospital.