When you have joint problems, you probably live with a lot of chronic pain. If you’re tired of popping Advil® every day and just want relief, you might want to consider having arthroscopic surgery.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that can help diagnose and treat your joint problems. It’s an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home the same day of the surgery.
The providers at LA Orthopaedic Specialists in downtown Los Angeles explain more about arthroscopy and how it can start you on the road to recovery.
What is arthroscopy?
Arthroscopic surgery starts with a small incision, just enough of an opening to insert an arthroscope, a tool that has a tiny camera and a light. This procedure is sometimes recommended if you have inflammation in a joint, such as your knee, shoulder, hips, or wrist.
You’re under anesthesia, so you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. Depending on which joint the doctor is examining, you may either be under general anesthesia or only a local anesthetic.
The arthroscope’s camera captures images of the inside of the joint that are projected onto a larger screen for your doctor to view in real time. Clear, sterile fluid is also added to the joint to rinse away cloudier fluid and enhance the doctor’s view so they can more assuredly arrive at the proper diagnosis.
The benefits of arthroscopy
Arthroscopic surgery is a valuable tool for doctors. If the doctor discovers during surgery that your joint needs repair, they might be able to do so during the same procedure. Along the way, your provider might make a few other small incisions to allow for other small tools in repairing the joint.
However, in other cases, your doctor may need to perform open surgery, which requires a larger surgical opening.
Arthroscopy is really the best way to diagnose what’s causing your joint pain. Although we can perform imaging procedures, such as X-ray or MRI, these techniques are still more limited in what they can reveal about the state of your joint.
Some of the conditions that arthroscopic surgery can treat include the following:
- Dislocated kneecap
- Torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
- Torn meniscus cartilage
- Damaged meniscus (which requires more extensive repair)
- Microfracture (requiring the stimulation of new cartilage)
- Cartilage transfer
- Torn rotator cuff
- Adhesive capsulitis, commonly called “frozen shoulder”
- Labral tears
- Bone spurs
- Cartilage damage
- Scar tissue
- Posterior ankle pain
- Cartilage damage
- Snapping hip syndrome
- Loose cartilage
- Labral tears
- Ganglion cysts
- Ligament injuries
Recovering from arthroscopy
Arthroscopic surgery generally takes only about an hour, and in most cases, you can go home the same day. At home, you may wish to use ice packs on the joint to reduce swelling. This swelling is temporary but may initially cause a bit more discomfort.
Arthroscopic surgery offers a much easier recovery compared with more invasive surgeries. Because most joint repairs don’t require cutting any tendons or ligaments, recovery is generally much less painful. The ability to use small incisions also means you won’t have as much scarring, either.
Simply stated, arthroscopic surgery is usually the best solution for persistent joint problems. It helps your doctor diagnose the true cause of your joint pain and often make needed repairs at the same time.
If you think you may be a candidate for arthroscopy, call the providers at LA Orthopaedic Specialists today or request an appointment online.