What is Arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy is a method used to both view a joint for diagnosing problems and, in some cases, to perform surgical repairs such as ACL reconstruction and cartilage restoration.
The term comes from two Greek words: arthro, or “joint,” and scopy, meaning “view.”
In any arthroscopic procedure, small incisions are made around the joint and a small camera and light, about the size of a pen or pencil, is inserted. The signals from the camera are transferred to a large screen, like a TV screen, so the surgeon can view the inside of the joint.
How is arthroscopy used?
It is technically possible to do an arthroscopic examination of almost every joint in the human body. The joints that are most commonly involved with arthroscopy are the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, ankle, foot, and hip.
Arthroscopy is often used to view and diagnose problems within the joint. Even after x-rays and other imaging techniques, direct viewing of the joint via arthroscopy may be needed.
Arthroscopy may also be used to repair torn tissues such as ligaments, cartilage or menisci. However, arthroscopic repair is not applicable to all patients. Your physician will let you know if an arthroscopic exam, or arthroscopic surgery, would be relevant in your own situation.
The advantages of arthroscopic surgery include a quicker recovery time and less scarring, since the incisions needed are very small and therefore cause less trauma to the joint.
Arthroscopy Rotator Cuff Repair Surgery
Recovery from arthroscopy
The small puncture wounds created by arthroscopy will take several days to heal and it may take several weeks for the joint to fully recover.
Arthroscopic procedures are done for a variety of different diagnoses and preexisting conditions, so each patient's arthroscopic surgery experience will be unique to that person.