Arthroscopic Surgery

An Introduction

  • Arthroscopic Surgery on knee

You may have heard a friend or family member mention that they had an arthroscopy on their knee or shoulder.  Then you’re left wondering, “What exactly is an arthroscopy or arthroscopic surgery?”  “How does an arthroscopy compare to an open surgery?” “What can I expect with an arthroscopic procedure?”  These are common questions about a common procedure and now is your chance to find out those answers.

An arthroscopy is a minimally-invasive surgical technique used to diagnose and treat the joints of the body.  An arthroscopic procedure uses small surgical instruments and a video monitor to diagnose and repair torn or damaged joint tissue.  Arthroscopy usually requires 2-3 small, ¼ inch, incisions to allow entry into the joint.  A surgeon uses the video monitor and a tiny camera on one of the instruments to view inside the joint and guide the repair instruments.  The time required for the procedure varies depending on the joint being operated on and the extent of the injured tissue damage.

Arthroscopic surgery is most commonly used for diagnosis and treatment of the knee joint for injuries such as meniscus tears, cartilage damage, ligament injuries, and cartilage deterioration.  As mentioned above, arthroscopy can be useful in many joints of the body including the knee, hip, and shoulder.

When compared to an open surgical technique, arthroscopy has many benefits.  Due to the small incisions, an arthroscopy is usually less painful and can allow for a quicker recovery.  Smaller incisions also mean smaller scars following treatment.  Most arthroscopic procedures are performed in an outpatient setting which removes the need for an overnight hospital stay.

In most cases an arthroscopy will result in a faster recovery time so that you can return to your favorite activity sooner!  Swelling will be present following a knee arthroscopy along with pain and limited mobility.  Because of this, your surgeon will likely order post-operative physical therapy to help the recovery process.

If you would like to learn more about joint arthroscopies or to request a consultation and treatment regarding your joint pain, contact the orthopedic surgeons of Central Illinois Orthopedic Surgery at 309-662-2278.

Doug West, ATC and Amy Fabrizius, ATS contributed to this article.

Information in this article obtained from American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons


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