As specialists in surgery of the joints (hips, knees, and shoulders in particular), patients are often referred to us when every other treatment fails. Rest, physiotherapy, medication, and injections have all proven futile by the time someone in pain consults us, and many a time, the solution is a common arthroscopy. This standard surgical technique is relatively minimally invasive and takes far less downtime than other procedures. Despite its popularity, many people still do not know what it entails and understandably have plenty of questions for us. Here, we explore some of these queries and concerns to hopefully ease any confusion you might have on the process.
- What is an Arthroscopy?
The term comes from the Greek words “arthro”, which means joint, and “skopein”, which means to look. “To look within the joint” is an apt name, as this is precisely what the surgery entails. An arthroscope, a thin tube that contains a camera lens and light, is the primary surgical device utilised during the procedure. The orthopaedic surgeon makes a tiny incision at the joint and inserts the arthroscope into the joint. The camera system is linked to a video monitor, which allows the surgeon to see into the structure and examine what might be wrong. With clear visibility of the bone, cartilage, ligaments, and soft tissue, a diagnosis can be made and, if possible, the surgeon can then opt to correct the issue arthroscopically too.
- Will I Need to Go to Hospital?
An arthroscopy is not as invasive as other types of surgery, and the small incision means that an overnight stay is generally not necessary. Patients do, however, require anaesthetics and the procedure usually happens in an outpatient facility or operating room.
- Are There Any Risks for Complications?
Complications are uncommon but can include infection, blood clots, excessive swelling, or excessive bleeding. It is crucial to monitor your recovery and speak to your specialist if you notice any of these symptoms. The key is to entrust the procedure to an experienced surgeon and follow your recovery plan correctly.
- Why Are Arthroscopies Sometimes needed?
After physical examinations, X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, the next best thing and final way to diagnose an issue would be by looking directly into the joint. This is a precise and accurate way to determine the nature of the problem and potentially work to repair the issue without taking up too much time or making large, unnecessary incisions. An arthroscopy is often required in cases where bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments have been damaged due to disease or injury. Inflammation and acute or chronic injury conditions such as torn cartilage or impingement syndromes might all warrant the procedure.
- How Long Will Recovery Take?
The puncture wounds themselves may take a few days to heal, but it takes several weeks to recover from the corrective procedure fully. Resuming your normal daily activities such as work or school should be possible within a few days, but athletic activities may only be possible in a few weeks. Your specialist will be able to advise you on your recovery journey.
To find out more about how an arthroscopy might be of benefit to you, feel free to send us an email at email@example.com today.