From the Greek language, arthroscopy translates to “look inside the joint,” and this is the basis of the surgical technique. Surgeons like Dr. Katzman see inside the body by way of a camera and lighting inserted through tiny incisions on the body, rather than the large incisions used in conventional surgery, where the doctor needs a wide opening and retracted tissue to see the treatment area.
Because of the disruption to tissue using conventional surgery, arthroscopic techniques can often present a more accurate impression of an injury or condition, since the arthroscopic camera can move around a joint without disturbing as much tissue.
Though nearly any joint can be viewed arthroscopically, the six most frequently examined joints are:
Inflammation, such as synovitis, an infection of joint linings, may be discovered through arthroscopic examination.
Acute and chronic joint injuries are perhaps most accurately diagnosed through arthroscopic viewing. Loose bits of bone or cartilage may be difficult to detect by other diagnostic imaging techniques. With the arthroscopic camera inside the joint, these troublesome free floaters have fewer places to hide. Specific joint issues discoverable through arthroscopy include:
The arthroscope itself requires an incision of about one-half of an inch, about the size of a typical buttonhole. Other incisions may be necessary for additional tools used to correct any problems, such as to remove bone or cartilage pieces. While arthroscopy started as a diagnostic procedure for planning conventional surgery, endoscopic techniques combine with arthroscopic viewing to treat many conditions without resorting to larger incisions.
Depending on your procedure, you may have little pain after surgery, and this is typically well-handled with over-the-counter painkillers. Dr. Katzman will inform you of post-procedure care, including suture removal and rehabilitation therapy. Your recovery time will be substantially shorter than similar treatment using conventional open surgery techniques.
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