Today, the benefits of arthroscopy performed for injury or painful joints encompasses the strong likelihood that help is on the way. Two Greek words comprise the term, arthroscopy. ‘Arthro’ means ’the joint’ and ‘skopein; means ‘to look’. Arthroscopy, therefore, incorporates procedures that ‘look within a joint’.
Healthy joints are vital to our well-being and mobility. Pain in the joints may be due to joint disease or injury to the tissues within or adjacent to the joint in question. There are all manner of trouble spots when it comes to our joints. The benefits of arthroscopy include taking the guesswork out of the equation. The joints have cartilage, which serves as cushioning pads for the bones of any particular joint. Ligaments attach those bones to each other around a joint. Tendons attach the muscles to the bone around the joint. Then there are fluid-filled sacs, which provide a gliding surface for the tendons.
Figure 1 Anterior Cruciate Ligament Arthroscopy
Unpacking The Art of Arthroscopy
One of the most often-overlooked benefits of arthroscopy is its efficacy as an investigative and diagnostic tool. With X-rays and MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), CT (Computed Tomography) scanning and full medical histories, an initial assessment can be made. That will drive the decision to progress to the arthroscopic procedure.
One of the great benefits of arthroscopy is that it can be performed in an outpatient operating room, which means we get to home the same day. Anaesthetic is involved, of course, so, this all happens in our sleep.
Through a small incision or keyhole, the size of a small button, special pencil-thin instruments are inserted. Then comes the arthroscope, which is the camera lens and the light. What the camera sees is projected on to a screen as the orthopaedic surgeon investigates inside the joint. The joint is usually filled with a sterile fluid to widen it, which makes visibility even easier.
Another benefit of arthroscopy is that the investigation confirms all prior indications and now a decision can be made as to what kind of surgery is best. If our case requires traditional ‘open’ surgery, that can be done at the same time as the arthroscopy. Otherwise, the orthopaedic surgeon will create other small incisions (called portals), to insert special instruments that cut, shave, grasp and anchor stitches into the bone.
The wound is then closed with stitches or special tape as the surgeon sees fit. Upon awaking, a sling or crutches for support is usually needed. The benefit of arthroscopy right here is that recovery can be done in the comfort of home. A visit within a day or two for a check-up and to remove any bandaging completed the procedure.
The 3 Main Benefits of Arthroscopy
With a multitude of possible causes for joint pain, arthroscopy leaves no room for doubt as to the real issue to address. Should o traditional ‘open’ surgery be needed over and above the arthroscopic procedure, then the operation is basically a ‘same’-day’ event with half the recovery time. Full joint procedures will understandably take longer to heal. That still leaves many benefits to arthroscopy such as:
- Less Tissue Damage
- Less Post-procedure Pain
- Faster Healing time
Traditional methods for ‘open’ joint surgery required longer recovery due to the extended exposure of the joint. The benefits of arthroscopy weigh on due it being so minimally invasive.
There is less swelling and less pain, less danger of infection and rapid recoveries see patients back at work in no time.
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