Arthroscopic surgery is a type of minimally invasive procedure used to view, diagnose, and treat a wide range of joint problems. It allows surgeons to see inside a joint without making large incisions, meaning there are fewer surgical risks and complications. Also, recovery is often much quicker when compared with traditional surgical methods.
Arthroscopic surgery involves inserting a thin tube attached to a light and fiber-optic video camera, known as an arthroscope, through a very small incision in the skin. The camera transmits high-definition images of the inside of the joint to a video monitor in order to accurately view it and to guide the surgeon through the surgery. Surgeons can repair certain types of joint damage during arthroscopy, using very small surgical instruments inserted through additional small incisions.
Orthopedic surgeons use arthroscopy for joint conditions and injuries that most commonly affect the:
Why Is the Procedure Carried Out?
Orthopedic surgeons may use arthroscopy to diagnose or evaluate damage or disease, and to assess the extent of a condition if X-rays and other imaging studies have been inconclusive. Arthroscopy is also carried out for a number of surgical procedures to treat conditions such as:
- Damaged or torn cartilage, ligaments, and tissue
- Inflamed joint linings
- Scarring within joints
- To remove loose bone fragments
Are There Any Risks Involved?
Arthroscopy is considered a very safe procedure and complications are uncommon. However, as with any type of surgery, there can be some potential risks involved, which can include:
- Tissue or nerve damage
- Blood clots
Risks may be increased in patients who smoke, are overweight, or have diabetes or underlying health conditions.
How to Prepare for Arthroscopic Surgery
Preparations may vary depending on the joint to be examined or repaired and the type of anesthetic used but may include:
- Avoiding certain medications
- Fasting beforehand
- Wearing loose clothing
- Arranging help at home after the procedure
Arthroscopic surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, but in some cases, an overnight stay in the hospital may be required. Surgery can be performed under local, regional, or general anesthesia depending on the extent of the procedure. It is a fairly quick procedure, with surgery only taking around an hour to complete.
You will be placed in the best position for the procedure you’re having done, such as on your back or side. A tourniquet may be used to reduce blood loss and the joint may be filled with a sterile fluid in order to expand the area around the joint and improve visibility. One small incision is made for the arthroscope and additional small incisions may be made at different points around the joint to allow the surgeon to insert surgical tools required for joint repair. Incisions are stitched or taped closed afterwards.
After surgery, you may experience some pain, which is a natural part of the healing process. Pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication can help to minimize post-operative discomfort. Keeping the limb elevated as much as possible for at least 72 hours can help ease pain, swelling, and avoid any complications. Ice may also be applied to reduce swelling and improve comfort.
You may require crutches or an assistive device temporarily, and depending on the problem, physical therapy and rehabilitation may be recommended to help mobilize and strengthen the joint.
Recovery from arthroscopic surgery can vary depending on the location and extent of surgery. Your surgeon will let you know what to expect. Usually, certain activities are restricted for a short period of time, but desk work and light activity can be resumed within a few days. Depending on the location of surgery, you should be able to drive in one to three weeks and engage in exercise and more strenuous activities a few weeks after that. Your surgeon will want to see you again in the office a few days after the procedure to check your progress.
Complications are rare, but you should call your surgeon if you develop any of the following symptoms:
- Redness or swelling
- Pain that is not relieved with medication
- Unusual drainage from incisions
- New numbness or tingling
Comprehensive Orthopedic Care in Mission, KS
If you are experiencing pain in any of your bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, or tendons, schedule a visit with an orthopaedic specialist at Midwest Orthopaedics. Our specially trained physician assistants and board-certified orthopaedic doctors have a wealth of experience in diagnosing and treating a wide range of orthopedic injuries and conditions, including fractures, joint conditions, and musculoskeletal disorders involving the knee, shoulder, hip, and elbows.
To schedule an appointment or to find out more about our services, including the arthroscopic procedures we provide, call our office today at (913) 362-8317 or you can request an appointment online.