What is Arthroscopic Surgery?

If you’ve ever been to see an orthopedic specialist, you’ve probably heard the term “scope” of the knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle or hip. But what exactly does it mean to scope a knee?

What is Arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure used to examine and treat an injured or damaged joint. Arthroscopic surgery is performed by sending a tiny instrument (arthroscope) through a small cut in the skin. The scope has a camera that enables the physician to clearly view the inside of the joint on a monitor.

Arthroscopic surgery can be used to examine the extent of an injury, but is commonly used to repair torn ligaments, cartilage, and inflamed tissues.

As with all surgeries, recovery time while be dependent on the individual. However, arthroscopic procedures are less invasive than open procedures and contribute to faster recovery times.

Why Use Arthroscopic Surgery Over Open Surgery?

Arthroscopic surgery is recommended when possible. Athletes often use this procedure because of its faster recovery period.

The use of an arthroscope can result in shorter recovery times, less pain after surgery, fewer risks associated with complications, and turns what might be an inpatient procedure into an outpatient procedure, saving both time and money.

How Do I Prepare for Arthroscopic Surgery?

  • Discuss your treatment options with your orthopedic surgeon. He or she will likely have recommendations for your specific treatment. Arthroscopy is the commonly-used technique for a majority of orthopedic issues, such as bone spurs and damaged or torn ligaments (ACL, PCL, rotator cuffs).
  • Comply with your physical therapy program. Physical therapy can help you regain form quickly and safely. Certified physical therapists will customize programs that fit your injury. Noncompliance can lead to discomfort, limited mobility, or a need for a second surgery. Remember that the surgery is only the first step, and your journey to recovery depends on adhering to the full care plan.
  • Be patient with your recovery. You will need to fully recover before starting strenuous activity again, if it all. Always ask your physical therapist or orthopedic specialist if you are planning to return to pre-injury activities or change your routine before you are completed with your care plan.

Arthroscopic surgery is an option for conditions like inflammation, torn cartilage or ligaments, damaged tendons in the shoulder, and bone spurs. If you are experiencing pain, limited mobility, or weakness within your joints, arthroscopic surgery may be an option.

Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics was founded by one of the pioneers of arthroscopic surgery, Dr. Burton Elrod. Dr. Elrod is a member of the International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, and has contributed to many publications on the topic.

For more information about Dr. Burton Elrod, click here.

To learn more about Elite’s services, click here.