Arthroscopy comes from two Greek words: “artho” meaning joint and “skopein” meaning to look. So Arthroscopy means to look within the joint.
Arthroscopy involves a miniature incision and pencil-sized instruments with a lens and light to magnify and illuminate inside the joint.
The DOC surgeon is able to see inside the joint, including bones, cartilage, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Any joint can be viewed with an arthroscope, but the most viewed joints are the knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle, hip, and wrist.
Diagnosing joint injuries and disease starts with a thorough medical history, physical examination, X-rays, and possibly MRI or CT scans. Arthroscopy helps to provide a definitive diagnosis.
Conditions found during arthroscopic joint examinations include:
- Shoulder: Rotator cuff tears, impingement syndrome, and dislocations
- Knee: MCL and ACL tears
- Wrist: Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Loose bone and/or cartilage: Any joint
Arthroscopic surgery requires the use of anesthetics and an operating room or surgical suite. A small incision is made big enough to insert the arthroscope. Additional small incisions may be made to see other parts of the joint or to insert other instruments. Initially arthroscopy was a diagnostic tool for planning open surgery. Now surgeons may perform surgery with miniature instruments inserted into the joint through the miniature incisions.
During arthroscopy, the surgeon may find that the injury or disease cannot be treated adequately with arthroscopy and needs open surgery, which can be performed while the guest is anesthetized or at a later date after the surgeon and guest discuss the findings.
Arthroscopy or open surgery and recovery time depend on the complexity of the joint problem, the guest’s general health, and the commitment to rehabilitation. A physical therapy regimen recommended by the DOC surgeon will speed recovery and help to regain joint function and mobility.