Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure. It allows orthopedic surgeons to look inside the body. Providers can diagnose and repair injuries to the joints or the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage in the body.

During the surgery, the surgeon makes a series of button-hole-sized incisions near the injured or diseased area. Then the surgeon inserts a thin tube holding a micro-camera into each incision. As the surgeon guides the camera through the affected area, the camera projects video images onto a monitor.

Arthroscopy allows the surgeon to see what’s happening inside the body without major surgery.

What are the benefits of arthroscopic surgery?

Arthroscopic surgery allows the surgeon to make a more exact diagnosis. Additionally, the smaller, less-invasive incisions also help protect the body in several ways.

  • There is less bleeding.
  • Smaller openings decrease the risk of infection.
  • Button-hole size incisions cause less traumatic injury to the nerves and muscles. Patients experience less pain.
  • Most arthroscopic procedures reduce surgical complications. Providers can perform these procedures in an ambulatory surgery center or hospital. When performed in a hospital, patients can expect shorter stays.

This combination of benefits leads to faster recovery.

When do surgeons use arthroscopy?

Surgeons use arthroscopy to explore, diagnose, and sometimes treat a painful area.

The procedure allows the surgeon to see the cause of pain or loss of movement. In addition, this exploratory surgery reduces disruption to the joint. Sometimes surgeons repair the issues affecting the joint or muscle simultaneously.

Arthroscopic surgery is used to treat many conditions, such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Bone spurs
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Ligament tears
  • Removal of loose bone fragments

Surgeons also use arthroscopy to repair tendons, ligaments, and other conditions in the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, hip, knee, foot, and ankle.

How long does it take to recover from arthroscopic surgery?

When compared to traditional surgery, arthroscopic surgery doesn’t cause as much trauma to the body. Consequently, patients usually recover faster from minimally invasive procedures.

But remember, healing from a torn rotator cuff, torn ACL, or another traumatic joint injury takes time.

An arthroscopic shoulder or knee repair takes an average of six to eight months to heal. After surgery, you may feel better and want to do more. But it’s important to follow your orthopedic provider’s advice before resuming activities. If you move a surgical site too soon, you can delay recovery and limit movement in the future.

If you are talking to an orthopedic surgeon about treatment options that involve surgery, ask if an arthroscopic procedure is possible.

Bone & Joint’s orthopedic surgeons perform arthroscopic procedures in the Wausau Surgery Center in Rib Mountain. This full-service surgical center is equipped for minimally invasive procedures, total joint replacements, and robotic-arm-assisted surgeries.

If your pain doesn’t stop, contact Bone & Joint’s team of qualified orthopedic and pain management specialists. They have the knowledge, skills, expertise, and state-of-the-art medical technology to get you back in motion.