(Fiberoptic Joint Examination)
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Arthroscopy can be done to diagnose an injury or a condition.
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Arthroscopy is a surgery done to examine a joint visually. Most of the time, it is done on larger joints, like the knee or shoulder. A special tool called an arthroscope is used. It is an instrument that looks like a long tube with a miniature camera on the end. Repairs or corrections to the joint may be done by using the arthroscope and other tools.
Reasons for Procedure
It is used to see, diagnose, and treat problems inside your joint. The procedure is most often performed for the following reasons:
- Diagnose an injury or disease inside a joint
- Remove bone or cartilage
- Repair tendons or ligaments
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely risk free. If you are planning to have an arthroscopy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
- Blood clots
- Swelling or bleeding
- Damage to blood vessels, nerves, or other tissue
- The need to have another surgery or more extensive surgery
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
The type of anesthesia will depend on the joint your doctor is looking at. You may receive one of the following:
Description of the Procedure
The doctor will make tiny incisions in the skin along the joint. Special tools will be inserted through the incisions. The tools include the arthroscope. The picture from the arthroscope will show up on a screen so that the doctor can see the inside of your joint. The doctor may use the images to move around other tools that can cut and repair tissue in your joint.
- Some meniscal (cartilage) tears in the knee will be repaired by cutting out some of the cartilage.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist may be treated by loosening the ligament that puts pressure on the nerves.
Once the examination or surgery is done, the tools will be removed. The skin may be closed with stitches or clips. The incisions will be covered with a dressing. The fluid or tissue that was removed may be sent to a lab for examination.
How Long Will It Take?
Usually less than one hour, but this may be longer if repairs are being done.
Will It Hurt?
Most patients report no pain during the procedure. After the procedure, pain medicines are used to treat pain.
The dressings can sometimes be removed as early as the next morning. When you return home after the procedure, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
- Apply ice for the first 24-48 hours after surgery to help with swelling and pain.
- While resting in bed, elevate the part of your body that you had surgery on.
- Keep the incision area dry. Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- You may be instructed to use crutches or a cane for the first few days if the surgery was done on a joint in your legs.
- Take only non-aspirin containing medicines for minor pain.
- If you have stitches or staples, your doctor will remove them in 7-10 days.
- Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions .
It takes 4-6 weeks for the joint to recover. You can probably go back to work or resume daily activities within a few da