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Definition

Arthroscopy is relatively a light surgical procedure, after which a patient can go home. It is performed by orthopedic surgeons, by examining inner structure of joint with the instrument called arthroscope (tube like viewing instrument). This instrument varies in size, depending of the size of joint that is examined, from 0.5 to 5 millimeters. After making small incision, this fiber optic instrument with lenses is inserted into joint for examination. In cases when surgery is performed with the help of arthroscope, procedure is called arthroscopic surgery.

In what Cases the procedure is performed

Arthroscopy is mostly used in cases of various injures inside of joint, infectious types of arthritis and many non inflammatory and inflammatory types of arthritis. It helps in diagnostics and therapy. It is used to transplant of cartilage, in cases when is necessary, or for complete removal of inflamed tissue in joints, in cases like inflammatory arthritis.
Arthroscopy is also used for diagnostics, to determine is surgery needed is various joint like knee and shoulder, and also in smaller joints.

Procedure of Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy can be performed with intravenous (IV) general anesthesia, or just with a spinal or epidural one. After patient is check in to the hospital, depending of type of injury and joint that is examined, appropriate type of anesthesia is selected. After anesthesia is applied, surgeon makes small incision, and inserts the appropriate arthroscope through it. Other surgical instruments can also be used to help the movements of arthroscope through incision. In some cases these other surgical instruments can be inserted through arthroscope. With theses other instruments, once he uses arthroscope to determine the state of joint, orthopedic surgeon can remove, saw or cut the portions of tissue in the joint. After the surgical procedure is over, arthroscope is removed and wound is tended appropriately.

Recovery in Post Arthroscopy Procedures

Immediately after surgical procedure is over, depending of type of anesthesia selected, post operative consequences may be:
- if just regional, epidural or spinal type of anesthesia is used, patient may feel no pain or drowsiness, ant he wont be in the need of pain killers or a hospital bed time
-if it is a case of general anesthesia, you may need some pain killer medication, and feel sleepy or drowsy
-you may also feel the numbness or weakness in the area of treated joint, but the feeling will eventually fade, before you are discharged from hospital
-wound or incision made in arthroscopic surgery is usually very small, less than ¼ of the inch, so you should only need to bandage the wound
-for several days after the procedure, you will need to rest, apply ice packs on the injury to avoid swelling and pain, and to elevate the affected joint slowly
-also, you will need an appropriate exercise program, in order to heal faster and to allow the affected joint full and speedy recovery

Over the coming years, technology has provided us with even smaller arthroscopies, allowing the surgeons to use it in the areas not before possible to reach.

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