SPORTS MEDICINE: ARTHROSCOPIC SURGERY
What is arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure in which a small camera (arthroscope) is inserted into the knee joint. Usually the surgery is viewed on a monitor so that the whole operating team is aware of the type of surgical procedure that is being performed.

 

What can be seen and done with the arthroscope?
The arthroscope allows the surgeon to see many structures inside the joint. The development of specialised instrumentation has increased the repertoire of the arthroscopic surgeon in dealing with pathology in the various joints.

 

During the procedure, which is conducted under anesthesia, the inside of the joint is examined for damaged tissue. The most common types of arthroscopic surgery are performed on the knee or shoulder. These include removal or repair of torn structures, for instance : ligament reconstruction in the knee (ACL or PCL reconstruction) , stabilisation of the shoulder or repair of the rotator cuff tendons of the shoulder. Other procedures include removal of loose debris and trimming damaged cartilage.

 

What are the benefits of arthroscopy?
Arthroscopes are approximately 5 mm in diameter, so the incisions are very small (approximately 1/8 inch). Arthroscopy is much less traumatic to the muscles, ligaments, and tissues than the traditional method of performing “open” surgery with long incisions (arthrotomy).

 

The benefits of arthroscopy involve smaller incisions, faster healing, a more rapid recovery, and less scarring. Arthroscopic surgical procedures are often performed on an outpatient basis and the patient is able to return home on the same day.

 

During the procedure, which is conducted under anesthesia, the inside of the joint is examined for damaged tissue. The most common types of arthroscopic surgery are performed on the knee or shoulder. These include removal or repair of torn structures, for instance : ligament reconstruction in the knee (ACL or PCL reconstruction) , stabilisation of the shoulder or repair of the rotator cuff tendons.

 

Other procedures include removal of loose debris and trimming damaged cartilage. If the need arises other joints can also be arthroscope ie. the elbow, ankle, wrist and hand.

 

Some common conditions in which our surgeons routinely use arthroscopy include:

  • ACL, PCL and other ligament reconstructions about the knee joint
  • Meniscus tears of the knee
  • debridement as well as repair
  • Shoulder dislocation and instability
  • Shoulder rotator cuff disease and tears
  • Loose bodies in the shoulder, knee, elbow or ankle
  • Cartilage ulcers in the knee and ankle
  • Certain operations involving the elbow, ankle and even hip
  • Assisting in the treatment of certain fractures involving joints

What is the prognosis after surgery?
The prognosis depends entirely upon what was found and what was done at the time of surgery. With proper physio and conditioning most patients return to active sports and daily activities.

 

Video of Knee Arthroscopy and Meniscectomy

 

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