Overview

Arthroscopy  is a procedure for diagnosing and treating joint problems. A surgeon inserts a narrow tube attached to a fiber-optic video camera through a small incision — about the size of a buttonhole. The view inside your joint is transmitted to a high-definition video monitor.

Arthroscopy allows the surgeon to see inside your joint without making a large incision. Surgeons can even repair some types of joint damage during arthroscopy, with pencil-thin surgical instruments inserted through additional small incisions.

Arthroscopy is a very safe procedure and complications are uncommon.

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Know more about Arthroscopy

What is Arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure used to diagnose & treat problems inside joints through visualisation. The term Arthroscopy literally means to “look within the joint”.

During the procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision and inserts equipment that has a small lens and lighting to magnify and clearly show the structures inside a joint.

The arthroscope is attached to a miniature television screen on which the surgeon observes the damaged joint through a very small incision as opposed to a larger surgical incision.

The surgeon observes the joint on the screen thoroughly including all the cartilage and ligaments. This allows the surgeon to determine the extent of the injury and provide the necessary treatments.

The patient will have to undergo total knee arthroplasty, total hip arthroplasty or a total arthroplasty in their joints.

Why is Arthroscopy Necessary?

Disease and injuries can damage bones, cartilage, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. The most common indications for arthoscopy are:

Inflammation

Synovitis is an inflammation of the lining in the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, or ankle.

Acute or Chronic Injury
  • Shoulder:  Rotator cuff tendon tears, impingement syndrome, and recurrent dislocations
  • Knee: Meniscal (cartilage) tears, chondromalacia (wearing or injury of cartilage cushion), anterior cruciate ligament tears with instability and posterior crucial ligament tear
  • Wrist: Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Loose bodies of bone and/or cartilage in knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle, or wrist

Problems associated with arthritis also can be treated through arthroscopy.

Most procedures may also combine arthroscopy with standard surgery.

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

The inside of nearly all joints can be viewed with an arthroscope. Typically six joints are most frequently examined with this instrument. These include the knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle, hip, and wrist. With advancements in fiber optic technology and new techniques developed by orthopedic surgeons, other joints may be treated more frequently in the future.

How is Arthroscopy Performed?

Arthroscopic surgery has a much easier recovery than “open” surgery, however, it still requires the use of anaesthetics and the special equipment in a hospital operating room. A general, spinal, or a local anaesthetic, may be given depending on the joint type and diagnosis.

A small incision will be made to insert the arthroscope. Other incisions may be made in order to make a clear diagnosis.

If required, corrective surgery will also be performed with specially designed instruments that are inserted into the joint through accessory incisions. Initially, arthroscopy was only a diagnostic tool for planning standard open surgery. With the development of better instrumentation and surgical techniques, many conditions can now be treated arthroscopically.

All meniscal, muscular and  ligamental tears around the major joints can be treated successfully with arthroscopic surgery.

Information is wealth

Tips to keep you healthy

1

Stay in Motion

It's the golden rule of joint health: The more you move, the less stiffness you'll have. Whether you're reading, working, or watching TV, change positions often. Take breaks from your desk or your chair and get active.
2

Don't Stretch Before Exercise

Flexibility helps you move better. Try to stretch daily or at least three times a week. But don't do it when your muscles are cold. Do a light warm-up first, like walking for 10 minutes, to loosen up the joints, ligaments, and tendons around them.
3

Flex Some Muscle

Get stronger to give your joints better support. Even a little more strength makes a difference. A physical therapist or certified trainer can show you what moves to do and how to do them. If you have joint problems, avoid quick, repetitive movements.
4

Work on Your Range

Are your joints too stiff? You'll want to get back as much range of motion as you can. That's the normal amount a joint can move in certain directions. Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend exercises to get yours where it should be.
5

Know Your Limits

It's normal to have some muscle aches after you exercise. But if you hurt for more than 48 hours, you may have overdone it. Don't push so hard next time. Working through the pain can lead to an injury or damage.
6

Keep Your Bones Strong

Calcium and vitamin D can help. Dairy products are the best sources of calcium, but other options are green, leafy vegetables like broccoli and kale. If you don't get enough calcium from food, ask your doctor about supplements.