Arthroscopic Surgery

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Joint Replacement

What is Arthroscopic Surgery?

Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that uses a tube-like viewing instrument to examine the internal structure of a joint for diagnosis and/or treatment. Arthroscopy became popular in the 1960s and is now used all over the world. It is typically performed in an outpatient setting by orthopaedic surgeons. Patients who have the procedure done in an outpatient setting can usually go home afterward.

Arthroscopic surgery is when procedures are performed in addition to examining the joint with the Arthroscope. A variety of procedures are carried out in this manner. When a procedure can be performed arthroscopically rather than using traditional surgical techniques, it usually results in less tissue trauma, less pain, and a faster recovery.

Why is Arthroscopic Surgery Required?

A thorough medical history, physical examination, and, in most cases, X-rays are used to diagnose joint injuries and disease. Other tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT), may be required.

The Arthroscopy provides a final diagnosis that may be more accurate than “open” surgery or X-ray studies.

Disease and injuries can damage bones, cartilage, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Some of the frequently found conditions during arthroscopic examinations of joints are:


For example, synovitis is an inflammation of the lining in the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, or ankle.

Acute or Chronic Injuries:

  • Shoulder: Rotator cuff tendon tears, impingement syndrome, and recurrent dislocations
  • Knee: Meniscal tears, cartilage tears, chondromalacia (wearing or injury of cartilage cushion), and anterior cruciateligament tears.
  • Wrist: Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Loose bodies of bone and/or cartilage: for example, knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle, or wrist

Some problems associated with arthritis also can be treated. Several procedures may combine arthroscopic and standard surgery.

  • Rotator cuff surgery
  • Repair or resection of torn cartilage (meniscus) from knee or shoulder
  • Reconstruction of anterior cruciate ligament in knee
  • Removal of inflamed lining (synovium) in knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, ankle
  • Release of carpal tunnel
  • Repair of torn ligaments
  • Removal of loose bone or cartilage in knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle, wrist.

Although an Arthroscopy may view the inside of nearly all joints, it is most commonly used to examine six joints. Knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle, hip, and wrist are examples. Other joints may be treated more frequently in the future as fiberoptic technology progresses and new treatments developed by orthopaedic surgeons.

How does Arthroscopic Surgery work?

Although arthroscopic surgery is far easier in terms of recovery than “open” surgery, it still necessitates the use of anaesthetics and specialised equipment in a hospital operating room or outpatient surgical suite. Depending on the joint or suspected ailment, you will be given a general, spinal, or local anaesthesia.

To insert the Arthroscope, a small cut (about the size of a buttonhole) will be done. Several more incisions may be made to get access to different regions of the joint or to introduce other equipment.

Corrective surgery is performed when indicated, using specifically specialised devices delivered into the joint through accessory incisions. Initially, arthroscopy was merely a diagnostic tool for normal open surgical planning. Many problems can now be addressed arthroscopically thanks to advancements in instrumentation and surgical procedures.

Most meniscal injuries in the knee, for example, can be successfully corrected with arthroscopic surgery.

Following arthroscopic surgery, the minor incisions will be dressed. You will be transferred from the surgical room to the recovery area. Many individuals require little or no pain relief.

You will be given instructions on how to care for your incisions, what activities to avoid, and which exercises to do to aid your recovery before being discharged. During the follow-up visit, the surgeon will examine your incisions, remove any sutures, and review your rehabilitation plan.

The extent of your operation and recovery time will be determined by the complexity of your problem. Occasionally, the surgeon may learn during arthroscopy that the damage or condition cannot be adequately treated with arthroscopy alone. The lengthy “open” surgery can be done while you are still sedated, or after you have discussed the findings with your surgeon.

What Benefits Does Arthroscopic Surgery Have?

Although arthroscopic surgery has garnered a lot of public attention due to its usage in the treatment of well-known sportsmen, it is an exceptionally helpful technique for all orthopaedic patients and is generally less invasive than “open” surgery. Most patients undergo arthroscopic surgery as outpatients and return home few hours afterwards.