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83462368 Arthroscopy 270x300 More About ArthroscopyYou have probably heard about the term arthroscopy, but still don’t quite get what it really is. All you might have picked up is that it’s a concept used in orthopedic surgery, and that it is one of the newer techniques used to treat people who have problems with their joints.

What is arthroscopy – Arthroscopy: defined

Well, all points are correct except that arthroscopy does not necessarily treat joint diseases. Rather, it is a diagnostic procedure used by orthopedists in order to determine the presence of disease. Arthroscopy is derived from two Greek words “arthro” (joint) and “skopein” (to look) which, when translated in English, reads “to look within the joint”.

How is it performed?

In the procedure, a small incision is made on the patient’s skin where instruments with the size and shape of a pencil are inserted in order for the surgeon to have a view of what is inside the joint. Lighting (fiber optics) and magnification are used to have a clear visualization of the inside.

Arthroscopy is an important procedure because it determines the final diagnosis of the joint’s condition. First, the physician will acquire a thorough medical history and conduct a physical examination of the patient which will then be followed by a series of diagnostic examinations such as x-ray, CT scan, or MRI.

Arthroscopy is a more accurate diagnostic technique compared to open surgery and x-ray, which is why it is the most preferred diagnostic procedure carried out by orthopedic surgeons nowadays.

The following are the most common findings after an arthroscopic procedure has been performed:


–          Of the shoulder, hips, knees, or ankles

Acute/chronic injury

–          Rotator cuff tendon tears, impingement syndrome, meniscal tears, chrondomalacia, anterior cruciate ligament tears, and carpal tunnel syndrome

Arthritis is a condition that leads to the occurrence of certain injuries which can be treated using arthroscopy and surgery. These are some of the more common surgical procedures associated with arthritis:

  • Repair/resection of torn meniscus
  • Rotator cuff surgery
  • Carpal tunnel release
  • Repair of torn ligaments

The shoulders, knees, elbows, ankles, and wrists are the joints that are most commonly diagnosed using arthroscopy.

Are there complications?

Just as in any invasive or minimally invasive procedure, there are possible complications associated with arthroscopy. These complications are, however, quite rare in occurrence. These are the following:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding

What happens during recovery?

Recovery after arthroscopy is not as difficult compared to open surgery. The small wound from the incision may take some days to heal, but the pain is minimal. Normally, full recovery can be attained after a couple of weeks, during the course of which a rehabilitation program must be followed in order for the region to regain its normal function. There is, however, no specific healing time for all patients as speed of recovery will depend on a number of factors such as severity of the disease, the disease itself, and the overall health of the patient.

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This article was written by Cedric Loiselle for Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center. If you are looking for a reliable and skilled Wisconsin orthopedic surgeon, read more of Loiselle’s articles for tips and advice.


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