Arthroscopy is an amalgamation of two words, arthro meaning joint and scopy meaning to look or observe or examine. So the surgical procedure that an orthopaedic surgeon performs to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint is called Arthroscopy.

The most commonly examined and treated joints with an arthroscope include the knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle, hip, and wrist.

Injuries, particularly those in athletes that were considered to be career ending, can now be addressed with arthroscopy allowing early return of players to full function.

Why is arthroscopy necessary?

Although possible diagnosis of joint injuries and diseases can be made by a thorough medical history, physical examination, and scans like X-rays, MRI or CT, but Arthroscopy is necessary to make final and accurate diagnosis of joint related problems.

Procedure of Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy Procedure

The procedure is performed by an orthopaedic surgeon as a daycare or inpatient procedure. A small incision is made by the surgeon in the patient’s skin, followed by insertion of a pencil-sized instrument that contain a small lens and lighting system to magnify and illuminate the structures inside the joint. This instrument is called arthroscope and is attached to a miniature television camera. This allows the surgeon to see the interior of the joint displayed as an image on a television screen. The surgeon can very well determine the amount or type of injury and also repair or correct the problem, as required.

What is recovery like after arthroscopy?

Since the procedure involves smaller incisions the recovery is faster than open surgery.

Indications of Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy can be used as a diagnostic as well as an operative tool in the following conditions:

  • Diagnosis of diseases and injuries that can damage bones, cartilage, ligaments, muscles, and tendons

  • Diagnosis of inflammatory conditions like synovitis

  • Diagnosis of acute or chronic injury of shoulder, knee, wrist etc.

  • Treatment of problems associated with arthritis

  • To address musculoskeletal problems

What procedures can be performed with Arthroscopy?

Several procedures may combine arthroscopic surgery like

  • Rotator cuff surgery

  • Repair or resection of torn cartilage (meniscus) from knee or shoulder

  • Reconstruction of anterior cruciate ligament in knee

  • Removal of inflamed lining (synovium) in knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, ankle

  • Release of carpal tunnel

  • Repair of torn ligaments

  • Removal of loose bone or cartilage in knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle, wrist.

What are the advantages of Arthroscopy?

Arthroscopic surgery has become quite popular in recent times due to following advantages when compared to open surgery:

  • Generally easier and quick procedure

  • Minimally invasive procedure

  • Most patients have their arthroscopic surgery as daycare

  • Minimal hospital stay

  • Patient can go home few hours after the surgery

  • Less postoperative swelling & pain

  • Minimum risk of complications

  • Faster healing and early recovery

  • Shorter rehabilitation

  • Can be used as diagnostic as well as therapeutic tool

  • Sooner return to normal activity and work

  • Can be performed under Spinal or general anesthesia depending upon the type of the procedure and preferences of the patient and physician