arthroscopic surgery

Joints of the human body are a phenomenon by design. They are our body's hinges in the knees, shoulders and hips, but often times, the wear and tear of daily activities require they get special attention. From torn cartilage in the knees of NFL players, to bone spurs in the ankle of someone who experienced a previous injury, arthroscopic surgery is revolutionizing the treatment of joint injuries.

With today's technology and instrumentation, surgeons can easily examine, diagnose and treat problems in the joints with minimally invasive surgery. Arthroscopic surgery, which uses an arthroscope to see the inside of a joint, allows not only visualization of the area, but also yields the ability to determine the amount or type of injury and to repair or correct the problem.

Arthroscopic surgery, or arthroscopy, typically is used to diagnose and treat problems in the knee. It also can be used to treat conditions of the shoulder, elbow, hip, wrist and even the great toe. During the procedure an incision of approximately 1/4 inch -- referred to as a "portal" -- is made to allow for the insertion of an arthroscope, an instrument the size of a pencil equipped with a lens and a lighting system, into the effected joint area. Other incisions also may be made in order to see other parts of the joint or to insert additional instruments such as a probe or a shaving tool.

Common joint problems seen with an arthroscope include loose cartilage in the joint, carpal tunnel syndrome, ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears, recurrent dislocations and inflammation of a particular area. Arthritis can sometimes be treated with arthroscopy and some conditions require the use of arthroscopy along with standard surgery.

Arthroscopy is an outpatient procedure usually performed at the OLBH Same Day Surgery Center. Patients usually spend several hours in the recovery room. This allows the center's recovery room nurses to monitor the patient's progress before he/she is released to go home. Aftercare typically requires ice and either prescription or non-prescription pain medications.

Many patients can resume daily activities, including going back to work, within a few days. Rehabilitation services such as a physical therapy regime of exercise and aquatics can help speed recovery and improve the future functioning of the joint.

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