Arthroscopy is a type of minimally invasive surgery that orthopedic surgeons use to diagnose and repair joints. Your provider uses a special instrument, called an arthroscope—a pencil-like tube with a light and camera at the end—to view and treat the structures of your damaged joint.
At OasisMD, in Encinitas, San Diego, and Temecula, California, our orthopedic surgeons use arthroscopy for many conditions, including those affecting the ankle, knee, wrist, elbow, and shoulder.
This type of surgery offers several distinctive benefits over traditional open surgical approaches. Keep reading to learn how arthroscopy can benefit you.
1. Best access for diagnosis
One of the biggest benefits arthroscopy provides is excellent access to your affected joint. Compared to other methods, like diagnostic MRI or X-ray, arthroscopy gives exceptional diagnostic viewing. This helps your provider better determine the treatments required for optimal recovery.
During arthroscopy, the camera attached to the end of the arthroscope sends a clear, detailed picture of the inner workings of your joints in real time to your OasisMD Lifestyle Healthcare surgeon’s monitor, so they can identify the cause of your joint pain.
2. Minimally invasive with minimal risks
No surgery is without risk. However, with arthroscopy, the risks are minimized because the procedure is performed using minimally invasive techniques.
Since arthroscopy only requires very small incisions for the camera and surgical tools, the risk of damage to your surrounding tissues is lower. This is key for your joints because the soft tissue provides crucial joint support.
In addition, these smaller incisions mean a lower risk of infection and blood loss. Since you spend less time in surgery, usually between 60-90 minutes, your risk of complications from anesthesia and immobility are also reduced.
3. Easier, faster recovery
When one of your joints gets injured or triggers chronic pain, your quality of life decreases. You may have to miss out on your favorite activities, sports practices or games, or important events.
The last thing you want is to be sidelined for a long stretch of time as you recover from surgery. Fortunately, since arthroscopy is minimally invasive, most surgeries are conducted as outpatient procedures, meaning you return home sooner.
Plus, since there’s less risk of damage to the surrounding tissues, your body has less area to heal. This means it can focus its energy on the problematic joint instead of large incisions.
Though you may not be able to return to sports or certain physical activities for several weeks, many people can get back to their everyday routines, like schoolwork or office responsibilities, within a few days.
4. Fewer, smaller scars
Arthroscopy generally only requires a few small incisions—which means you’ll only have a few small scars as well. This is beneficial, since scar tissue around joints can be problematic. For example, because scar tissue is made from more dense fibers, it can affect your range of motion.
You can further minimize any scarring by keeping your incision sites clean and moist and by protecting your skin from the sun. You’ll also want to be sure to eat a nutritious diet high in vitamins D and C to promote healthy skin turnover.
Have more questions about the many benefits of arthroscopy? Contact one of our OasisMD locations, or request an appointment online now!