What’s an arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure. The process combines probes, soft tissue repair devices, arthroscopes, and fluid management systems. While this sounds complicated, each tool works through 2-3 buttonhole incisions. Surgeons can repair wrist fractures and cut tendons and ligaments.
Arthroscopic vs conventional surgery
Conventional surgery requires large, open incisions to get to the surgical area. Large incisions meant longer recovery time. There was also an increased risk of infection. With arthroscopy, minor incisions mean a range of benefits. These include faster recovery, faster procedures, and improved outcomes. Athletes need to get back in the game as quickly as possible, and arthroscopy does that.
What happens in the emergency room?
Arthroscopic surgery is usually performed in an outpatient setting. First, an anesthetic is administered. The surgeon then uses a scalpel to make a tiny incision. Next, the surgeon inserts an arthroscope containing a light and a camera, allowing the doctor to see inside the actual joint. The image or area is projected on the screen. The joint is filled with fluids to expand and enable the surgeon to evaluate the joint properly. From here, the necessary incisions and tools help repair the joint. After a short evaluation, the patient can leave the hospital.
Arthroscopy makes recovery easier
Recovery for most injuries starts 24 hours after surgery. Some cases require crutches or a splint for support. Patients can remove the bandages the day after the surgery. The incisions made are relatively small, leaving minimal scarring. Small dissolvable stitches can also be used. Rehabilitation can range from weeks to a few months, depending on the injury.
Any complications and risks?
Arthroscopic surgery is safe, with less than 100 instances of complications. However, no surgery is without difficulty. There is a risk of infection, possible blood clots, damaged or swollen nerves. Other rare but possible complications include broken equipment during surgery. If a patient is experiencing pain, numbness, fever, or wrist discoloration, contact a doctor for treatment options.
Is arthroscopy right for your wrist?
There is a growing demand for minimally invasive surgical methods, especially with athletic injuries. Wrist injuries, for instance, are so common, approximately 11-20% of visits to emergency departments are hand- and wrist-related. Technology continues to make arthroscopy treatment more effective. Based on the benefits, this is becoming a preferred surgical method, especially for sports-related injuries.