Arthroscopes are approximately 5 mm in diameter, so the incisions are very small (approximately 1/8 inch). Arthroscopy is much less traumatic to the muscles, ligaments, and tissues than the traditional method of performing “open” surgery with long incisions (arthrotomy).
The benefits of arthroscopy involve smaller incisions, faster healing, a more rapid recovery, and less scarring. Arthroscopic surgical procedures are often performed on an outpatient basis and the patient is able to return home on the same day.
During the procedure, which is conducted under anaesthesia, the inside of the joint is examined for damaged tissue. The most common types of arthroscopic surgery are performed on the knee or shoulder. These include removal or repair of torn structures, for instance: ligament reconstruction in the knee (ACL or PCL reconstruction), stabilisation of the shoulder or repair of the rotator cuff tendons.
Other procedures include the removal of loose debris and trimming damaged cartilage. If the need arises other joints can also be arthroscope ie. the elbow, ankle, wrist and hand.
Some common conditions in which our surgeons routinely use arthroscopy include:
- ACL, PCL and other ligament reconstructions about the knee joint
Meniscus tears of the knee
debridement as well as repair
Shoulder dislocation and instability
Shoulder rotator cuff disease and tears
Loose bodies in the shoulder, knee, elbow or ankle
Cartilage ulcers in the knee and ankle
Certain operations involving the elbow, ankle and even hip
Assisting in the treatment of certain fractures involving joints
What is the prognosis after surgery?
The prognosis depends entirely upon what was found and what was done at the time of surgery. With proper physio and conditioning, most patients return to active sports and daily activities.