Arthroscopy: Minimally Invasive Orthopedic Joint Surgery
Shoulder arthroscopy and knee arthroscopy are some of the most common forms of minimally invasive orthopedic joint surgeries performed on shoulders, knees, elbows. wrists, ankles, hips, and spine by the orthopedic surgeons at the Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Institute (OSMI).
Arthroscopy (Arthroscopic Surgery)
How arthroscopy is performed and the benefits of this minimally invasive procedure in diagnosing, examining, and treating joint disorders.
Arthroscopy, or arthroscopic surgery, is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is performed on a joint in order to examine, diagnose, and/or treat joint abnormalities. Arthroscopy is performed using a thin, flexible tube, equipped with lenses and optical fibers, called an arthroscope. The arthroscope is inserted into the affected joint through a small incision (usually ¼ inch), allowing your surgeon to view the internal joint structure on a television monitor. The surgeon can then diagnose and/or repair the damaged joint using small surgical instruments inserted through additional small incisions.
Arthroscopy is typically performed on an out-patient basis using local, general, regional, or spinal anesthesia, depending on the joint being repaired or examined.
Arthroscopy is usually considered an excellent treatment option for:
- Ligament tears and strains, such as rotator cuff injuries, impingement, and shoulder dislocation.
- Cartilage (meniscus) tears.
- Chondromalacia (deterioration of cartilage cushion beneath the kneecap (patella).
- Evaluation of shoulder and knee joints
- Removal of loose tissue or foreign objects lodged in the joint
- Diagnosing and treating inflammatory, non-inflammatory, and infectious arthritis.
Arthroscopy can also be used successfully to evaluate and treat conditions affecting the:
- Wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome)
Benefits of Arthroscopic Surgery
Arthroscopy, in comparison to open, or traditional, surgery, has the benefit of not requiring the joint to be fully opened up. Arthroscopes can range in diameter from .5 millimeters (used in wrist arthroscopy) to 5 millimeters (used in knee arthroscopy). The arthroscopic incision is typically about the size of a buttonhole. Because arthroscopic surgery is generally an outpatient procedure, the patient is usually home within a few hours of surgery. Other benefits of arthroscopy include:
- Reduced recovery time and return to regular activity sooner
- Minimal trauma to connective tissue
- Less pain
- Less scarring
Preparing for Arthroscopic Surgery
While arthroscopy is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure, it does require general anesthesia or sedation in many cases. Your doctor will determine if it is a viable option for your condition. This preoperative evaluation may include:
- Physical exam
- Medical history evaluation
- Blood tests
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Chest x-ray
Patients undergoing arthroscopy need to:
- Be evaluated for adequate heart, lung, and kidney function and tolerance for anesthesia.
- Inform their doctor of any past medical problems.
- Follow any preoperative instructions, especially concerning medications, such as anticoagulants (blood thinners).
- Patients with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or emphysema will be closely monitored prior to arthroscopic surgery to ensure readiness for the procedure.
During arthroscopy, your surgeon will make a small incision in the skin on the side of the joint and use the arthroscope to examine the inside of the joint. If it is determined that the joint needs to be repaired, additional small instruments will be used to suture (sew), remove, or cut any damaged tissue. After the procedure is completed, the incisions are closed and a sterile dressing is applied, as well as a brace or ACE bandage if necessary.
Recovering from Arthroscopy (Arthroscopic Surgery)
After arthroscopic surgery, the involved joint is typically bandaged at the incision site to absorb drainage. Bandages should be kept dry and removed only by your orthopedic surgeon or nurse. Postoperative instructions typically include:
- Elevation of joint
- Application of ice packs (to minimize swelling and pain)
- Graduating exercise program and physical therapy (to strengthen surrounding muscle and prevent scarring)
- Call your doctor immediately if you experience unusual joint pain, redness, warmth, or swelling, or if the involved joint becomes injured after your procedure.
Our goal at OSMI is to provide our patients with quality, cutting-edge treatments, both surgical and non-surgical. Dr. Michael Boothby, having performed hundreds of successful arthroscopic surgeries, is consistently rated as one of The Top Orthopedic Surgeons in the Fort Worth area. If you have questions or concerns about joint pain, or for more information about arthroscopic surgery, please submit an online appointment request or contact our office at 817-529-1900.