Arthroscopy, or arthroscopic surgery, is an orthopedic procedure that examines the joints of the body. It is commonly referred to as a “scope,” as in “I’m going to have my knee scoped.” Instead of using a large incision to inspect damage to a joint, the procedure uses tiny incisions into which a small camera (arthroscope) is inserted. The surgeon can then inspect the joint and take photos or samples of the tissue there to determine the extent or type of damage that is occurring.
This procedure may be used along with additional surgical techniques. For example, if the surgeon performs arthroscopy on a shoulder joint and determines that the rotator cuff has been torn, a rotator cuff repair may be added to the surgery.
One of the benefits of this minimally invasive approach is that this surgery is typically done on an outpatient basis, with the patient returning home the same day. Recovery is usually quicker than with comparable procedures performed “open” with a much larger incision.
Why Is Arthroscopy surgery Necessary?
Arthroscopic surgery is used to examine the joints of the body to determine either the cause of joint damage or the extent of damage. The surgery is performed if physicians are unable to determine the source of the joint problem. For example, if it suspected that the joint is damaged but other diagnostic testing such at x-rays, CT scans or MRI are unable to determine the nature of the damage, an arthroscopy may be done to make a diagnosis.
A biopsy, the taking of a piece of tissue for examination, can also be performed during arthroscopy. This tissue can be used to make a diagnosis when the tissue is examined under a microscope. Fluid from the joint may also be sampled during the procedure, usually to determine the nature of any infection that may be present.
Current research indicates that arthroscopy of the knee may not be helpful for patients with arthritis, but the determination to have the procedure should be made on a case by base basis in consultation with your surgeon.
Types of Arthroscopic Surgery
Arthroscopic surgery could potentially be performed on any joint, and as time passes, more and more different joints are being arthroscopically treated. Common types of arthroscopic surgery include:
- Knee Arthroscopy
- Shoulder Arthroscopy
- Hip Arthroscopy
- Ankle Arthroscopy
- Elbow Arthroscopy
- Wrist Arthroscopy
Knee and shoulder arthroscopy are by far the most common arthroscopic procedures performed. These joints are large enough to manipulate the instruments around, and they are amenable to arthroscopic surgery treatments.
Technically speaking, any joint can be arthroscoped. However, the practicality and the instrumentation available limit our ability to arthroscope every joint for all types of problems. The most common arthroscopic procedures include repairing cartilage and meniscus problems in the knee, and repairing rotator cuff tears in the shoulder.
Performing Arthroscopic Surgery
When an arthroscopy is performed, a camera is inserted into the joint through a small incision (about one centimeter). The arthroscopic surgery camera is attached to a fiberoptic light source and shows a picture of the inside of the joint on a television monitor. The surgeon uses fluid pumped through the joint to aid in visibility and clear debris from the joint. One or more other incisions are made to insert instruments that can treat a variety of conditions. For example, a shaver can be inserted to trim torn cartilage from a joint.
Common Arthroscopic surgery Procedures
Many joint problems are amenable to arthroscopic surgery. As mentioned above, knee and shoulder conditions are far more often treated arthroscopically than are other joints; some common Arthroscopic Surgery in Delhi include:
- Trimming a torn meniscus of the knee
- Repairing a torn meniscus of the knee
- Treatment of shoulder bursitis
- Repair of the rotator cuff in the shoulder
- Treatment of cartilage damage in the knee
- Treatment of labral tears in the shoulder