Arthroscopic surgery is a common orthopedic procedure that is used in the diagnosis and treatment of problems inside a joint. The word "arthroscopy" comes from two Greek words: 'arthro,' meaning "joint," and 'scope,' meaning "look." Simply put, arthroscopic surgery is a means to look inside a joint. But arthroscopy is much more than that!
Types of Arthroscopic Surgery
Arthroscopic surgery could potentially be performed on any joint, and as time passes, more and more different joints are being arthroscopically treated. Common types of arthroscopic surgery include:
Performing Arthroscopic Surgery
When an arthroscopy is performed, a camera is inserted into the joint through a small incision (about one centimeter). The arthroscopic surgery camera is attached to a fiberoptic light source and shows a picture of the inside of the joint on a television monitor. The surgeon uses fluid pumped through the joint to aid in visibility and clear debris from the joint. One or more other incisions are made to insert instruments that can treat a variety of conditions. For example, a shaver can be inserted to trim torn cartilage from a joint.
Benefits of Arthroscopy
The alternative to arthroscopy is open surgery, which involves bigger incisions and exposing the joint to the air. Sometimes open surgery is necessary, but arthroscopic surgery carries some distinct advantages, such as:
Faster healing time
Less disruption of normal tissue
Less chance of infection
Less chance of scarring
Possibility of same-day surgery