Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows the internal structure of a joint to be closely examined and/or treated using specialized tools. This technique offers our orthopaedic surgeons the opportunity to look throughout the joint and precisely diagnose damage—without the trauma and vulnerability of exposing the joint with a large incision and open surgery. If appropriate, surgical repairs can also be made arthroscopically, which requires a few small incisions to accommodate additional instrumentation. With this technique, recovery time is reduced and there is typically less post-operative pain and scarring, making it an excellent option for patients who are good candidates.
Benefits of Arthroscopy
Arthroscopic techniques offer several diagnostic and treatment advantages to patients suffering from joint pain and/or dysfunction. Benefits include the ability to:
- Achieve accurate diagnoses for conditions of the joints and tissues that may have been difficult to specify with other imaging options, such as x-rays and MRIs.
- Quickly repair damage and treat pain.
- Reduce post-surgical discomfort and recovery time.
- Reduce the likelihood of infection.
- Shorten post-surgical hospital stays.
- Use smaller incisions that can heal quickly and result in only a small amount of scar tissue.
Not all patients are candidates for arthroscopy, but it is easy to find out if you qualify for these types of procedures. If you’d like to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our orthopaedic surgeons, please contact Garden State Orthopaedic Associates.
What Happens During Arthroscopic Surgery?
Prior to the start of the procedure, the appropriate type of anesthesia (either general, local, or both) is administered. To begin, a small incision or series of incisions is made in the patient’s skin near the affected joint, through which slender instruments can be inserted. The main instrument, called an arthroscope, contains a small magnifying lens and fiber optic lighting system that amplifies and illuminates the structures of the joint. The device is attached to a video camera, which displays the interior of the joint on a screen in the operating room. During this type of examination, the surgeon’s goal is to precisely identify: the condition(s) that is (are) present, the extent of any damage, and even repair or treat the damage with additional instrumentation if possible. When the procedure is complete, the instruments are removed and the incisions are closed with sutures. Post-surgical care instructions are provided and a physical therapy treatment plan may be required for optimal healing and joint mobility.
Arthroscopic examination of joints is helpful in diagnosis and treatment of the following conditions:
- Inflammation: Inflammatory joint conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can cause synovitis, which is a type of joint swelling caused by the inflammation of the synovial membrane. Synovial membranes line the joint capsule inside of the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and ankle joint.
- Infection: Detection, cleansing, and removal of infection and infected tissue in the joints.
- Injury: Traumatic or chronic injuries to the joints that include cartilage tears, tendon tears, impingement/impaction syndromes, carpal tunnel syndrome, and others.
- Osteoarthritis: A common type of arthritis that is considered a degenerative bone disease. This condition is caused by worn joint cartilage and characterized by joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.
- Loose bodies: Removal of bone chips and/or cartilage fragments that have become lodged within the joint.
- Cysts: Removal of cysts that have formed on the joint or tendon.
Types of Arthroscopic Surgery We Offer
At Garden State Orthopaedic Associates our experienced surgeons offer a wide range of arthroscopic surgeries using state-of-the-art surgical equipment, techniques, and technology. We are committed to providing our patients with as many minimally invasive treatment options as possible in order to shorten recovery periods, reduce the chances of surgical complications, speed healing, and minimize periods of immobility.
For information on some of the more common types of arthroscopic surgeries we perform, we encourage you to click on the links below to access detailed resource pages on the following topics:
The procedures we perform are not necessarily limited to these areas, so if you have questions about arthroscopic surgery in additional joints not mentioned here, please contact our office to connect with a knowledgeable member of our team who can answer your questions.