What is Arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure of orthopaedic surgeons use to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint. Using arthroscopy is good because that the joint does not have to be opened up fully. Instead, for knee arthroscopy for example, only two small incisions are made — one for the arthroscope and one for the surgical instruments to be used in the knee cavity to fully remove the knee cap. This reduces recovery time and may increase the rate of surgical success due to less trauma to the connective tissue.
Why is Arthroscopy necessary?
Diagnosing joint injuries and disease begins with a thorough medical history, physical examination, and usually X-rays. Additional tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) also scan may be needed. Through the arthroscope, a final diagnosis is made, which may be more accurate than through “open” surgery or from X-ray studies. Disease and injuries can damage bones, cartilage, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Some of the most frequent conditions found during arthroscopic examinations of joints are:
- Inflammation Joint
- Shoulder: Rotator cuff tendon tears, impingement syndrome, and recurrent dislocations
- Knee: Meniscal tears, chondromalacia, and anterior cruciate ligament tears with instability
- Wrist: Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Loose bodies of bone and/or cartilage: for example, knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle, or wrist
What is recovery like after Arthroscopy?
The small puncture wounds take several days to heal. Although the puncture wounds are small and pain in the joint that underwent arthroscopy is minimal, it takes several weeks for the joint to recover fully. Rehabilitation program may be needed to speed up your recovery. It is not unusual for patients to go back to work or school or resume daily activities within a few days. Athletes and others who are in good physical condition may in some cases return to athletic activities within a few weeks. Remember, though, that people who have arthroscopy can have many different diagnoses and preexisting conditions, so each patient’s arthroscopic surgery is unique to that person. Recovery time will reflect that individuality.