Arthroscopy (also called arthroscopic surgery) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure on a joint in which an examination and sometimes treatment of damage is performed using an arthroscope, an instrument that is inserted into the joint through a small incision. Arthroscopic procedures can be performed to evaluate or treat many orthopedic conditions including torn cartilage in the knee, tears in the rotator cuff of the shoulder, anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, and labrum tears in both the shoulder and the hip.
The advantage over traditional open surgery is that the joint does not have to be opened up fully. For most arthroscopic procedures, only two or three small incisions are made, one for the arthroscope and one or two for the surgical instruments to be used in the affected joint. This reduces recovery time and may increase the rate of success due to fewer traumas to the supporting connective tissue. The surgical instruments are smaller than traditional instruments. Surgeons view the joint area on a video monitor, and can diagnose and repair torn or injured joint tissue relatively quickly and precisely. It is technically possible to do an arthroscopic examination of almost every joint, but is most commonly used for the knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, wrist and ankle.
A word of caution, try to understand that the small nature of the incisions does not lessen the intensity of the work done to your joint. Patients have a tendency to assume that because the incisions are small, that the work done in the joint is trivial. This misassumption will lead patients to underestimate the time it takes to recover from arthroscopic surgery. Generally, it is best to assume that it will take at least 4-6 weeks from surgery to be back to most sports. Typically patients will be able to return to a low physically demand job—sitting most of the day— in just a few days.
Fortunately, the physicians at the Seaside Surgery Center are highly experienced in performing these arthroscopic surgical procedures as outpatient surgery. In addition, surgeons at Seaside Surgery Center are using the state of the art Synergy UHD4 arthroscopic imaging system designed and manufactured by Arthrex® Corporation of Naples, FL. This system allows the surgeon to see inside the joint with a clarity unseen to this point, maintain and manage images of the procedure and interact with the electronic medical record or provide images to patients. This is truly the best arthroscopic technology available anywhere today! We want you to get back into action with a pain free joint as quickly as possible!