What is wrist arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure performed by an orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon uses an arthroscope through a small incision. The scope is a thin device with a camera and light attached. The scope goes into the wrist and projects the tissue, bones, and ligaments on an external monitor. From there, the surgeon can take further steps to treat damage to tendons and bones.
Who needs wrist arthroscopy?
Athletes tend to get wrist injuries due to overuse, collisions, strains, sprains, and fractures. Some of these injuries can be treated with non-invasive means. Any combination of rest, compression, pain medication, and physical therapy can help. When these conservative methods fail, however, wrist arthroscopy is valuable. If there are clear signs of a fracture or cyst, wrist arthroscopy is an option.
Enjoy these benefits
Wrist arthroscopy is the procedure of choice compared to open surgery. Open procedures start with an incision several inches long. The surgeon can then access the wrist to perform the necessary repairs. Open surgeries often mean longer recovery due to the large incision. There’s also more pain and a greater chance of infection. With wrist arthroscopy, the small incisions mean faster recovery, less pain, and more successful outcomes. After a short physical therapy period, athletes can get back to sports faster.
Treating athletic injuries
Wrist arthroscopy is an outpatient procedure, meaning the patient can leave the same day. The surgeon starts with a local anesthetic to numb the area. A small incision comes next, and the arthroscope is inserted. The light and camera help the surgeon to assess the site. Additional incisions allow the surgeon to insert other tools. These tools can cut tendons, insert pins and screws, or address other concerns. In the final step, the incisions are closed and bandaged. Recovery can then take several weeks before the patient can resume sports.
Risks, complications, and success rates
Minimally invasive procedures like wrist arthroscopy are usually safe and effective. However, with any procedure comes a degree of risk. Some common concerns include infections, blood clots, and nerve damage. The surgeon will discuss any possible risks and the steps to address any complications. On average, wrist procedures have a 92% success rate.
A better wrist with arthroscopy
Athletes with acute or chronic wrist injuries can feel stressed. The pain and discomfort can leave athletes on the sidelines. Wrist arthroscopy can address injuries or conditions that do not respond to conservative treatments. With fast recovery, minimal scarring, and high success rates, more and more athletes are opting for this innovative method.