Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat problems with joints. It’s typically performed using a small camera, called an arthroscope, that’s inserted into the affected joint through a small incision. The camera allows the surgeon to see the structures inside the joints without making large incisions that would require cutting through healthy muscles and other tissues surrounding the area. Images of the interior of the joint are projected onto a monitor in the operating room, so the surgeon can evaluate them closely.
In many cases, once an orthopedic surgeon has diagnosed a condition using arthroscopy, they can treat it during the same procedure by inserting small instruments through additional small incisions. The doctor may treat the problem by cleaning out debris or repairing damaged tissue.
Below are three of the most common diagnoses that can be made with arthroscopic surgery.
1. Meniscus Tears
The meniscus is a rubbery disc that cushions your knee joint. You have two menisci in each knee, located on the inner and outer sides. Meniscus tears are among the most common injuries treated with arthroscopic surgery. These tears can occur due to normal wear and tear as you age or from sudden trauma, such as twisting your knee while playing sports.
The doctor will look for signs of a meniscus tear during the arthroscopy. If they find a meniscus tear, they may be able to repair it with sutures or remove it completely (meniscectomy).
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis caused by the breakdown of cartilage in joints over time. It commonly affects the knees, hips, and shoulders. During early stages, osteoarthritis may cause mild pain and stiffness in joints, but as it progresses, the pain can become more severe and debilitating.
Arthroscopy can confirm whether or not you have osteoarthritis and help determine how severe it is. In some cases, arthroscopic surgery may be able to treat arthritis by cleaning out debris from the affected joint or repairing damaged tissue.
3. Rotator Cuff Tears
A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. These tissues help lift the arm overhead. A rotator cuff tear occurs when these tissues are torn partially or completely. Rotator cuff tears are fairly common, especially among older adults. Overuse injuries such as repetitive motions during work tasks also increase risk.
During an arthroscopic examination of the shoulder, your doctor inserts the arthroscope into the shoulder joint. The doctor can also insert small surgical instruments through other tiny incisions around the edge of the shoulder to repair or remove damaged tissue.
Arthroscopy in St. Peters, O’Fallon, & Wentzville, Missouri.
It is critical that you choose a well-trained physician for arthroscopy to minimize the risk of complications. The orthopedic surgeons at Advanced Bone & Joint are well-trained and experienced in the use of arthroscopy to diagnose and treat a range of musculoskeletal conditions. We strive to make the experience as smooth as possible for patients and provide thorough preoperative education and postoperative guidance and support.
In our facility, we provide comprehensive bone and joint care, from diagnosis and treatment to recovery and rehabilitation. Arthroscopy can be very safe when done by experts.