What Is An Arthroscopy?


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When we go to the doctor or the hospital and is facing some form of treatment, it is common that the patient is completely baffled by the technical jargon thrown at you by the specialists. While they cannot be blamed for doing so, it is rare that one gets a comprehensive diagnosis or a step by step guide on the procedure that you or your loved one is about to undergo. This is why, within this article we will try to explain the procedures and a heads up on what to expect once a doctor mentions an ‘arthroscopy’.

What is arthroscopy?

This is a surgical procedure which is used to view joints and bone parts within the body by using a camera. This is a minimally invasive procedure where an incision of about a quarter inch is made on either sides of the joint and the camera is inserted. Since it is a minimally invasive procedure, most hip specialist Melbourne and knee specialists recommend this method of treatment before opting for open surgery.

The camera used to diagnose is a form of tube which uses fiber optic technologies to capture and transmit images from inside the joint to the doctors outside. Beginning in the 1960s, this is now a commonplace treatment followed by many doctors as an outpatient procedure, where patients are even allowed to return home on the same day.


How is it done?

As mentioned previously, an arthroscope, which is a small tube with lenses and optical fibers on it is inserted into the body through small incisions. The diameter of the tube depends on the size of the joint that they are inspecting. For example, for a knee arthroscopy, the tube diameter would be about 5 mm, while for a wrist would be as low as 0.5mm. The images are thereafter transmitted through the tube onto TV screens in the theatre through which the doctors then diagnose the way forward. 

Rather than simply looking at the problem, an arthroscope can be used to administer procedures within joints. These are called arthroscopic surgery and as a minimally invasive procedure, has reduced trauma and lesser recovery period while reducing the risk of infections to the body significantly and make a good recovery. 

When is it done?

It is commonly used to diagnose inflammatory, noninflammatory and infectious types of arthritis. It is also used by doctors to determine the extent of damages in various joint injuries, especially those done on the field. For a sportsman who is hoping to return to the field fast, an arthroscopy offers a quick recovery and minimal damage to the surrounding area of the injury.