What to Know Before Undergoing Arthroscopy

If you’re suffering from a joint injury or are experiencing chronic joint pain, it may be time to consider arthroscopy to diagnose and treat your condition. At Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine with offices in Collierville, Tennessee, and West Memphis, Arkansas, we can help.

Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Michael Hood, MD, and our compassionate care team use the latest in arthroscopic technology to remedy chronic joint pain from arthritis or injury. We’ve curated this helpful guide to explain what you should know before undergoing arthroscopy. Read on to learn more!

What is arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy, or arthroscopic surgery, is a minimally invasive orthopedic procedure used to examine joints of your body that are causing you pain or aren’t working properly due to injury, inflammation, or arthritis. You might also hear people refer to arthroscopy as getting a “scope.” 

Arthroscopy is called minimally invasive because it uses tiny incisions instead of larger, more invasive incisions. Dr. Hood then inserts a small camera called an arthroscope into the joint to inspect the extent or type of damage.

The arthroscopy sends real-time images of the joint to a monitor. These images allow Dr. Hood to either create a treatment plan in the case of a diagnostic arthroscopy or repair and remove damaged tissue in the case of treatment.

What areas can arthroscopy examine or treat?

Arthroscopic surgery can be used to examine many joints of the body to determine either the cause or extent of damage or injury. The most common joints examined or treated by arthroscopy include:

Are there risks associated with arthroscopy?

Arthroscopic surgery risks are relatively minimal since the procedure is minimally invasive. However, no surgery is risk-free. In addition to the risks associated with general surgery, such as anesthesia complications, bleeding problems, and risk of infection, there are several arthroscopic-specific risks. These include risk of damage to the joint during the procedure, damage to surrounding tissues, veins, and arteries, and, for arthroscopic procedures performed below the waist, increased risk of blood clots. 

What are the benefits of arthroscopy?

While the risks of arthroscopy are minimal, the benefits abound. Here are the top three reasons Dr. Hood may recommend this procedure:

1. Excellent diagnostic and treatment access

One of the biggest benefits of arthroscopy is that it provides excellent access to your affected joint, allowing for exceptional diagnostic and treatment access. While diagnostic imaging, such as MRI or X-ray, can provide some insight into what’s happening in your joints, seeing the issue firsthand is preferable. 

Instead of having to conduct open surgery, however, arthroscopy gives a clear, detailed picture of the inner workings of your joints by sending real-time images to Dr. Hood’s monitor. This helps Dr. Hood identify and remedy the cause of your joint pain. 

2. Minimally invasive for minimal risk

Because arthroscopy only requires very small incisions for the camera and any surgical tools, there is less risk of damage to surrounding tissues. This is especially important with joints since the soft tissue provides crucial joint support. In addition, smaller incisions mean a lower risk of infection and blood loss.  

3. Faster, easier recovery

Injury or pain in one of your joints can disrupt your life. The last thing you want is to be sidelined for even longer as you recover from surgery. Fortunately, since arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure, most cases can be completed on an outpatient basis, allowing you to return home sooner.

In addition, since there’s less risk of damage to the surrounding areas, your body can focus on healing the affected joint instead of the surrounding tissue. And because the incisions are so small, you’ll have only minimal scarring. 

Ready to learn more about arthroscopy?

If you’re ready to explore the benefits of arthroscopy or to learn if you’re a candidate for this minimally invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure, contact Delta Orthopaedics and Sports medicine to schedule an appointment or use our online booking tool and set up your appointment now! 

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