What is arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure during which the internal structure of a joint is examined for diagnosis and treatment of problems inside the joint. In an arthroscopic examination, a small incision is made in the patient's skin through which pencil-sized instruments that have a small lens and lighting system (arthroscope) are passed. Arthroscope magnifies and illuminates the structures of the joint with the light that is transmitted through fibre optics. It is attached to a television camera and the interior of the joint is seen on the television monitor.
When is arthroscopy indicated?
Arthroscopic examination of joints is helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of the following conditions:
- Inflammation: Synovitis, the inflammation of the lining of the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, or ankle
- Acute or chronic injury: Injuries to the shoulder, knee and wrist joint such as cartilage tears, tendon tears, carpal tunnel syndrome
- Osteoarthritis: A type of arthritis caused by cartilage loss in a joint
- Removal of loose bodies of bone or cartilage that becomes logged within the joint
Procedure for arthroscopy
During arthroscopic surgery, either a general, spinal or local anaesthesia will be given depending on the condition. A small incision of the size of a buttonhole is made through which the arthroscope is inserted. Other accessory incisions will be made through which specially designed instruments are inserted. After the procedure is completed arthroscope is removed and incisions are closed. You may be instructed about the incision care, activities to be avoided and exercises to be performed for faster recovery.
Some of the possible complications after arthroscopy include infection, phlebitis (clotting of blood in the vein), excessive swelling, bleeding, blood vessel or nerve damage and instrument breakage.
Recovery following arthroscopy
It may take several weeks for the puncture wounds to heal and the joint to recover completely. A rehabilitation program may be advised for a speedy recovery of normal joint function. You can resume normal activities within a few days.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic and surgical procedure performed for joint problems. Shoulder arthroscopy is performed using a pencil-sized instrument called an Arthroscope. The arthroscope consists of a light system and camera to project images to a computer screen for your surgeon to view the surgical site.
Elbow arthroscopy, also referred to as keyhole or minimally invasive surgery is performed through tiny incisions to evaluate and treat several elbow conditions.
Ankle arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which an arthroscope, a small, soft, flexible tube with a light and video camera at the end, is inserted into the ankle joint to evaluate and treat a variety of conditions.
Your wrist is a complex joint made up of eight small bones called carpal bones. These bones are supported by connecting ligaments. Various conditions can affect your wrist joints such as carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis and others.