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Arthroscopic Surgery - Treatment Procedures, Recovery & Risks

Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that uses a small camera, also called a scope, to treat several orthopedic conditions. It is considered a modern treatment, minimally invasive, in which the orthopedic surgeon makes smaller incisions to access the affected area in order to restore the normal function of that specific area.

This advanced surgical procedure involves a small tube that is connected with a tiny camera and light in the end to get a clear view of the surgical site. By making a small incision, the surgeon inserts the tube to reach the affected joint. Through other incisions, the surgeon inserts modern surgical tools for probing, grasping, and cutting the damaged tissues to fix the condition.

What Treatments can be Performed through Arthroscopy?

The following are a few treatments performed through arthroscopy for effective results-

Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair Treatment - Arthroscopic Tendon Repair is typically recommended to reconstruct the torn ligaments present in the shoulder joint. During the surgery, the surgeon inserts an arthroscope and surgical instruments to reattach the tears via small incisions. Patients will need a little physical therapy for torn rotator cuff after surgery.

Hip Arthroscopy - Total hip replacement through arthroscopy is commonly recommended to replace the damaged and worn-out hip joint. The artificial implant is placed with the help of a minimally invasive procedure, i.e., arthroscopy. This improves the mobility issues of the hip joint.

Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery - Total shoulder replacement surgery is also known as shoulder arthroplasty. The procedure removes the damaged parts of the shoulder joint and replaces them with artificial implants.

Meniscus Tear Treatment - Meniscus repair surgery through arthroscopy is also known as Meniscectomy. During this procedure, the surgeon either removes the damaged meniscus ligament partially or reconstructs the torn ligament with sutures.

Arthroscopic Bankart Repair Treatment - An arthroscopic bankart repair surgery involves the repair of the torn ligament via sutures called anchors. The procedure provides significant improvement in shoulder function with a low recurrence rate and increased shoulder stability.

Arthroscopic ACL Reconstruction - If the conservative methods don't work, the surgeon recommends arthroscopy to repair the AC tear. The surgeon either reconstructs the torn anterior cruciate ligament or takes a healthy ligament from other parts of the body. Arthroscopy for ACL tear reconstruction is considered the best and most effective treatment compared to open ACL reconstruction surgery.

Arthroscopic Knee Surgery - This procedure, also known as total knee arthroplasty, involves the replacement of the entire or partial joint surface at the end of the thigh bone/femur and the joint surface at the top of the shin bone/tibia. Often the entire patellar bone is also replaced with an artificial prosthetic. This aids in restoring the normal function of the affected knee joint.

What are the Benefits of Modern Arthroscopic Treatment?

There are several benefits of undergoing advanced arthroscopy treatment compared to conventional and other surgical techniques. Some of them are-

  • A faster and smoother recovery duration
  • Minimal blood loss during the surgery
  • The incisions made during the arthroscopy procedure are smaller compared to open surgery.
  • The duration of arthroscopy is lesser in contrast to the traditional method.
  • Shorter hospital stay because the body heals quickly as the wounds are smaller, and the patient doesn't need to stay in the hospital for more than 2 days.
  • This surgical procedure has minimal scarring as it does not require multiple cuts or stitches.&

Questions You Can Ask an Orthopedic Doctor for Arthroscopy

The following are a few questions you can ask your orthopedic doctor for a better understanding of arthroscopic treatment-

  • Is arthroscopy painful?
  • Can I avoid delaying arthroscopic treatments?
  • Is there any alternative to arthroscopy?
  • What is the long-term outlook of arthroscopic treatments?
  • Is arthroscopic a major procedure?
  • How long does it take for knee arthroscopic surgery?
  • What is the success rate of arthroscopic procedures?
  • When can I resume work after arthroscopic procedures?

Why does an Orthopedic Surgeon Recommend Arthroscopic Treatments?

The following are a few signs and symptoms for which an orthopedic doctor may recommend an arthroscopic surgery in order to restore the normal function of the affected area-

  • Weakness in the major joints, such as hip, elbow, knee, ankle, etc., that connect the body parts with each other.
  • Popping sensation while bending the joints.
  • Swelling and inflammation in the affected joint that restricts regular movement.
  • Chronic pain in the joints may result in mobility issues like climbing, playing sports, walking, daily activities, etc.
  • The full range of motion is hampered because of an accident or trauma.
  • If the conservative and non-surgical methods are not effective and did not show any improvement.
  • Stiffness in the joint which makes the regular movement difficult and painful.

Risks & Complications Associated with Arthroscopic Surgery

Arthroscopy is an advanced and modern surgical procedure, it is minimally invasive, safe, and effective compared to traditional methods. However, like any other surgery, arthroscopic surgery also involves a few potential risks. Some of them are-

  • Loss of sensation of feeling of numbness around the operated area.
  • Internal bleeding (in rare cases)
  • The emergence of blood clots.
  • High body temperature due to inflammation
  • Poor reaction to administered anesthesia
  • Damage of nearby nerve
  • Swelling around the surgical site
  • Infection

Recovery from an Arthroscopic Procedure

The recovery duration post arthroscopy surgical procedure may depend on the affected area where the surgery is performed. At times, for some patients, it is easier to resume regular activities post-surgery when the condition is minimal. However, for others, when the procedure is major, resuming daily activities in a shorter span may get difficult. To make the recovery duration smoother, an orthopedic surgeon will suggest a few guidelines to the patient.

Success Rate of Arthroscopic Surgery

Arthroscopic is an advanced surgical procedure. The average success rate of arthroscopic surgery may range between 85%-95%. It is an approximate idea of the success rate for arthroscopic surgical treatments. However, the success rate may vary based on various factors, including the severity of the condition, if the patient has any comorbidities, etc.

Consult Expert for Arthroscopic Surgery

An orthopedic surgeon who has specialization and clinical fellowship in arthroscopy perform arthroscopic surgeries. It is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that includes precision and expertise. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult an expert orthopedic surgeon to undergo arthroscopic surgery.

When is the Arthroscopic Procedure Not Recommended?

The following are a few scenarios in which arthroscopic surgery is not recommended-

  • Extensive damage in the affected area
  • Comorbidities
  • Infection or inflammation at the surgical site.
  • Severe degenerative bone diseases.
  • Poor blood circulation in the affected area.
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