What is Arthroscopy: The Procedure Explained (2022 Updated)
Arthroscopy is a procedure used to diagnose and treat joint issues. It’s done using an arthroscope, an instrument that allows the doctor to see inside the joint while keeping the area sterile. This article will explain what arthroscopy is, how it’s done, and the risks of this procedure. Arthroscopic surgery is minimally invasive surgery where small incisions are made in the skin to access one or more of the joints in the body.
A camera called an arthroscope is inserted into one of these small incisions, providing a magnified image of the joint’s interior for the surgeon to see. The surgical tools are inserted through other small incisions to work on removing whatever is causing problems with the joint. Due to this being a minimally invasive procedure, patients heal faster than if just regular open surgery was performed on them. Read on to learn more about what arthroscopy is.
What is Arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery that uses an arthroscope to look inside a joint and perform a procedure if needed. An arthroscope is a long, thin tube with a light and a lens at the end so the doctor can see inside the joint. The joint can be almost any joint in the body but is most commonly used on the knee and elbow.
This procedure allows the doctor to look inside the joint without making an incision large enough to fit an entire person’s arm into the joint. This is beneficial because the tiny incisions heal faster than large ones, and the doctor can perform the whole procedure with the arthroscope rather than switching to open surgery mid-procedure.
How is Arthroscopy Performed?
Arthroscopy can be done through a few different incisions. In the knee, it is most commonly done through the inner side of the knee, called the medial side. This minimizes the amount of knee tendon that needs to be cut. Once the arthroscope is inserted into the joint, the doctor will use the arthroscope to see where the problem is and to place any instruments or small pieces of cartilage that might need to be repaired inside the joint.
This is done with small instruments inserted through the arthroscope, which are then removed, and the arthroscope is removed from the joint. The knee is a common joint where arthroscopy is performed. The doctor may find something like a meniscus tear that is causing pain or a loose piece of bone or tear in the cartilage that they need to repair.
Benefits of Arthroscopic Surgery
Quicker recovery times: Minimally invasive surgeries such as arthroscopy means that patients are able to recover quicker than if they had standard open surgery performed on them. This is because the large incision in open surgery has to heal, while the smaller incisions in arthroscopy have less to heal, so they recover faster.
Less time staying in the hospital: Patients with arthroscopy often stay in the hospital for less time than if they were to have open surgery because the procedure is less invasive and heals quicker.
Avoiding long-term disability: If arthroscopy can be performed on a joint causing pain, it can allow a patient to avoid long-term disability. If the joint is repaired, the pain is able-often avoided, and the patient can go back to living their daily lives.
Risks of Arthroscopic Surgery
- Complications: Complications do occur either during or after arthroscopy. Some of the more common ones are infection, blood clots, and damage to surrounding nerves or blood vessels.
- Long-term disability: If the arthroscopy cannot be performed or if a complication occurs, the patient may be left with long-term disability. They may be able to avoid joint replacement surgery, but they may have to have a more permanent limp and a permanent loss of mobility in the joint.
- Increased pain: Some patients experience increased pain after arthroscopy. This may be due to swelling or because the procedure did not fix the problem but just cleaned it.
- Bleeding: Patients who have surgery may experience bleeding during the procedure. Most of the time, the doctor can stop the bleeding before it becomes a problem. If it becomes a problem, they can usually take care of it with a blood transfusion.
- Infection: Infection is a risk of any surgery, but the doctor will take steps to minimize your risk of infection. Most often, an infection can be treated with antibiotics.
- Blood clots: Blood clots are a serious risk after any surgery. They can cause pain, disability, and in rare cases, death. Blood thinners are given to most patients to reduce the amount of risk.
- Damage to surrounding tissue: When a surgeon cuts into the body, they are able to see what they are doing, but they are also able to feel the tissue around the incision. This means that they may accidentally cut or damage nearby tissue. If this happens, it is usually able to be repaired.
Recovery Time of Surgery
The recovery time of arthroscopy can vary depending on the patient and what is done during the surgery. It may be anywhere from a few weeks up to a few months. The knee is the joint that arthroscopy is performed on most often, which has a standard recovery time of six to eight weeks.
For the first few days after surgery, patients are encouraged to stay off of their feet as much as possible. They are encouraged to use crutches or a wheelchair if they need to go anywhere. This helps to reduce their risk of infection and blood clots. After a few days, patients are encouraged to walk with a cane, walk with a knee walker, or use a stationary bicycle. They will be given a schedule of when they can start moving more and more, including physical therapy.
Conclusion: Symptoms of Arthroscopy
Arthroscopy is a common minimally invasive surgery used to diagnose and treat joint issues. Arthroscopic surgery uses an arthroscope to look inside a joint and perform a procedure if needed. It is done through a few different incisions and allows the doctor to see inside the joint without making an incision large enough to fit an entire person’s arm into the joint.
This procedure allows the doctor to look inside the joint without making an incision large enough to fit a whole person’s arm into the joint. This is beneficial because small incisions heal faster than large ones, and the doctor can perform the entire procedure with the arthroscope rather than switching to open surgery mid-procedure.