Arthroscopy is an outpatient procedure usually performed under regional or general anesthesia in a surgical center. The most common use of arthroscopy is for repair of tears of cartilage, ligaments, and defects in the surfaces of the knee, shoulder, ankle, wrist and hip. Arthroscopy is also used for diagnosis, reconstruction and restoration of damaged tissue in the joint, and in the treatment of arthritis.
Orthopedic surgeons use an arthroscope, a small fiber-optic viewing instrument made up of a tiny lens, a light source and video camera, to perform arthroscopy. An orthopedic surgeon inserts the arthroscope into the joint through a tiny 5mm puncture – about 1/4 of an inch – called a portal. Two or three very small punctures may be made for the insertion of surgical instruments. These punctures result in very small scars, which in most cases become unnoticeable, providing direct access to most areas of the joint, which the surgeon can view on a large screen monitor during the procedure.
As an orthopedic surgeon who has performed over 2,000 arthroscopic procedures, I have personally seen how arthroscopy has evolved and revolutionized the treatment of joint injuries. Arthroscopy enables skilled orthopedic surgeons to examine, diagnose and treat even complex joint injuries and conditions and quickly return patients to their normal routines.
In the past, treatment may have involved extensive surgery, including large incisions, a hospital stay, a prolonged recovery and risk of post-surgical infection and complications. With today’s high-technology arthroscopic surgery, patients experience less pain and quicker recovery, returning home on the same day as their procedure. Risk of infection and complications are minimal.
Hip arthroscopy has emerged as a specialty in the last five or six years as an alternative to more invasive hip replacement surgeries. Hip arthroscopy is much less common than knee or shoulder arthroscopy and can help to relieve the pain that results from injury or chronic conditions of the soft tissue surrounding the hip joint.
While less invasive than conventional surgeries, outpatient hip arthroscopy is still technically challenging. As one of the few orthopedic surgeons in Monmouth County who regularly performs hip arthroscopy, this procedure offers pain relief to patients who would have required more extensive procedures in the past. Hip arthroscopy has been a part of my practice for the past five years.
All patients should choose an orthopedic surgeon who takes the time to get to know them and fully answers all questions. Initial patient contact should include an orthopedic evaluation consisting of a medical history; a physical examination to assess range of motion, stability, strength and alignment; X-rays to determine the extent of damage and occasionally blood tests, and an MRI or bone scan as needed.
After evaluation and diagnosis, treatment options are discussed. Your orthopedic surgeon should take the time to explain each treatment option so you can make an informed decision.
Arthroscopic Surgery – Solution for All Ages
As you go along the age spectrum, a younger active person may have a soft tissue or ligament injury repaired arthroscopically, and an older person may receive hip arthroscopy. Either way, both patients can be back to their normal routines very quickly. Thanks to arthroscopic procedures and a supportive care environment, most joint injuries and conditions are not the setbacks they once might have been.
It gives me personal and professional satisfaction to have returned thousands of patients to active lifestyles thanks to high quality, personalized care and innovative treatment.