Arthroscopic Surgery

What is an arthroscope?

An arthroscope is a small tube that is inserted into the body that contains a system of lenses, a small video camera, and a light for viewing. The camera is connected to a monitoring system that let a surgeon view the operation while it is being done. The arthroscope is often used with other tools that are inserted through another incision. These tools, unlike the arthroscope, are used for grasping, cutting, and probing.

What is arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a procedure used for joint conditions. Originally, arthroscopy was used mainly for planning a standard open surgery. However, because of the development of new instruments and advanced surgical techniques, many conditions can also be treated using an arthroscope.

What does arthroscopic surgery generally involve?

Although each procedure varies, generally, arthroscopic surgeries involve the following:

  • You will receive a general, local or spinal anesthetic.
  • A small incision is made in your skin.
  • The arthroscope is inserted through the incision.
  • Other incisions may be made to introduce other small grasping, probing, or cutting tools.
  • Light is transmitted via fiber optics at the end of the arthroscope.
  • Information about the interior of the joint is transmitted to a screen.
  • Corrective surgery, if necessary, may be done during the initial diagnostic procedure.
  • Dressings or bandages may be put on the incisions.

The small puncture wounds created by the arthroscope and probing tool(s) may take several days to heal.

Recovery time varies. However, most arthroscopic surgery is done on an outpatient basis. This means you can go home within hours after the surgery. Some people get back to their normal activity within a few days. Athletes and other people in good physical condition may return to athletic activities within a few weeks, under the care of their doctor.

Joints most frequently examined via arthroscopy

The joints most frequently examined using arthroscopy include the following:

  • Knee
  • Shoulder
  • Elbow
  • Ankle
  • Hip
  • Wrist

Conditions most frequently found with arthroscopy

The following are the conditions most frequently discovered during an arthroscopic procedure:

Always see your doctor for a treatment recommendation based on your individual condition.

Technologies for Arthroscopic Surgery

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What to Expect for Arthroscopic Surgery

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Side Effects and Risk Factors for Arthroscopic Surgery

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Education and Resources for Arthroscopic Surgery

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Learn More about Arthroscopic Surgery

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