Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows doctors to diagnose and sometimes treat joint injuries and disease through small incisions in the skin. It is often performed to confirm a diagnosis made after a physical examination and other imaging tests such as MRI, CT or X-rays. During an arthroscopic procedure, a thin fiberoptic light, magnifying lens and tiny television camera are inserted into the problem area, allowing the doctor to examine the joint in great detail. For some patients it is then possible to treat the problem using this approach or with a combination of arthroscopic and “open” surgery. Sports injuries are often repairable with arthroscopy. Tendon tears in the knee are frequently repaired in this way. Other potentially treatable injuries include torn cartilage or ligaments, inflamed joint lining, carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff tears, and loose bone or cartilage.
Benefits of Joint Arthroscopy vs Surgery
Because it is minimally invasive, arthroscopy offers many benefits to the patient over traditional surgery:
- No cutting of muscles or tendons
- Less bleeding during surgery
- Less scarring
- Smaller incisions
- Faster recovery and return to regular activities
- Faster and more comfortable rehabilitation
Knee Arthroscopy Procedure
Knee arthroscopy is performed on an outpatient basis under local or general anesthesia, depending on the type and severity of the condition, as well as the patient's personal preference. During the procedure, Dr. Williams will insert the arthroscope into the knee through a tiny incision. This instrument is used to identify any damage or abnormalities within the knee, or to confirm the diagnosis of a previous imaging exam. If damaged areas are detected, they can be repaired during the same procedure by inserting surgical instruments into additional incisions. Knee arthroscopy may include removing torn cartilage, reconstructing torn ligaments, trimming cartilage, removing loose bone or removing other inflamed tissue. Once the repair has been completed, the incisions will be sutured closed and then covered with a bandage.