Arthroscopy can reveal much to your surgeon about what is wrong with your joints. Once the ailment or injury is diagnosed, it can be treated immediately.
The joints in your body are crucial to your ability to move and bear weight normally. When they suffer an illness or injury, they need to be repaired quickly. Your surgeon can tell what kind of treatment is necessary for your joints by performing a procedure called arthroscopy.
What is Arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy is a procedure that allows doctors to see inside of the joints in a patient’s body. With it, doctors can see, diagnose, and treat a host of ailments and injuries that afflict joints like the wrists, knees, hips, shoulders, and others.
The word “arthroscopy” comes from the Greek words for “to look” and “joint.” Thus, this procedure’s name literally means “to look inside the joint.”
Arthroscopy is performed in a hospital or single day surgery center as an outpatient procedure. Most of these operations take less than an hour to complete.
Prior to the surgery starting, you will be put under local or general anesthesia. Once you are relaxed or asleep, your surgeon will make a small incision in the joint. He or she will then insert a small instrument known as an arthroscope into the joint. The fiber optic scope has a light and a camera attached to its end that allow the surgeon to see inside of the joint. The instrument eliminates the need for the surgeon to make a large incision and perform extensive exploratory surgery.
Once the arthroscopy is finished, the incision will be closed with surgical glue or sutures. You will then be taken to a recovery room to be monitored prior to being discharged and sent home.
Reasons for Arthroscopy
Arthroscopy is performed for a variety of reasons. The main reasons for arthroscopy are to diagnose the underlying causes for inflammation as well as acute or chronic injuries like:
- Rotator cuff tendon tears
- Impingement syndrome
- Cartilage tears
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Loose bits of bone or cartilage in the joint
Further, arthroscopy is often used in conjunction with other procedures including:
- Rotator cuff repair
- Meniscus repair
- Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
- Synovium removal
- Carpal tunnel release
- Bone or cartilage removal
The type of surgery that it is performed in conjunction with will determine if it is done as an outpatient or inpatient procedure.
After your arthroscopy is complete, you will remain under observation or one to two hours before you are sent home to recuperate. Once you are home, it is important that you rest and limit your activities until your doctor clears you for walking, climbing stairs, driving, and more.
You also should use mobility devices like a walker or crutches as directed by your surgeon. You may also be advised to undergo rehabilitation therapy to learn how to use the joint again and bear weight on it.
Finally, you should use over-the-counter or prescription medications to relieve the discomfort from your operation.