Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat diseases and injuries of the joint. The surgeon uses a small camera or scope (arthroscope) and small tools to repair the joint through tiny incisions. Since the procedure involves smaller incisions than those with open surgery, healing and recovery are generally shorter.
Though arthroscopic surgery isn’t an option for every case where joint repair is needed, it is an appealing option for patients. Most report less pain, better healing, and fewer complications.
Arthroscopic surgery is less invasive than open surgery. It is usually done as an outpatient procedure, and patients go home on the same day. It is now a standard surgical option for many joint repairs.
The incisions made for surgery are small. The arthroscope used provides visuals of the area while the surgeon makes the repairs. The tools used are small and narrow compared to the equipment used in open surgery. Because the incisions are so small for arthroscopic surgeries, it is less complicated and offers fewer risks than major open surgery.
Surgeons can use arthroscopic surgery to treat a variety of joint conditions. The most common joint repairs include:
During the surgery, physicians can repair cartilage, bones, ligaments, and tendons by removing and repairing damaged areas of the joint.
Recovery from arthroscopic surgery varies depending on the amount of damage to the joint and which joint is affected.
After surgery, it is important to follow physician instructions for aftercare. To help minimize pain and inflammation, it is recommended to follow R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).
Some patients can manage pain with over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol. When larger joints are repaired or it is an extensive surgery, the physician may prescribe opioids for a few days.
Monitoring the wound is also essential. Often the dressing is removed the day after surgery, and steri strips are applied. Wound infections are rare but if you notice any signs or symptoms, report them to your doctor.
Length of recovery and healing varies by procedure, but usually, within a few months, patients have a complete recovery. Participation in physical therapy and attending aftercare appointments can also help you heal and get back to everyday life.
The major difference between laparoscopic surgery and arthroscopic surgery is the area of the body repaired. Laparoscopic surgery is used for gastrointestinal disease while arthroscopic is used for disease of the joints.
Laparoscopic surgery is most often used for intestinal surgeries. These can include:
It is a minimally invasive surgery where the surgeon makes small incisions called a “port.” Instruments are inserted into each port, including a camera and small instruments, similar to those used with arthroscopic surgery.
With endoscopy, a long, thin tube is inserted into the body to view an organ or tissue. It is often used to obtain an image but can also be used to complete a minor surgery. An endoscopy is minimally invasive. The scope can usually be inserted into openings such as the mouth or anus.
A physician may request an endoscopy to investigate symptoms, perform surgery, or take tissue samples (a biopsy).
An endoscopy and arthroscopy are similar in that a camera is used to view a specific area of the body but differ in their purpose and how the procedure is performed.
A significant advantage of arthroscopic surgery is less damage to the soft tissues surrounding the affected joint. Bleeding, swelling, and inflammation are minimalized, so recovery is shorter.
After a short period of immobilization, physical therapy focusing on range of motion, strength, and flexibility helps rehabilitate the joint. Following directions from the physical therapist for home exercises are also key for optimal healing.
By following orthopaedic follow-up instructions, patients who have arthroscopic surgery heal much faster than open surgery.
What can you expect at our Raleigh Orthopaedic Panther Creek Center? Our surgeons are experts in the diagnosis and treatment across the spectrum of orthopaedic procedures.
Our board certified-fellowship trained-surgeons work with our patients on an appropriate treatment plan so you can recover with minimal pain and maximum mobility.
We are here to help you get back to your daily life. Our orthopaedic surgery center in N.C. offers advanced surgical techniques that help to ensure the best possible outcomes for our patients.
For additional information, contact our surgery center at 919-582-3050. We look forward to being your partner in care.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.