Arthroscopic Surgery — An Intimidating Phrase for a Very Simple Procedure

Arthroscopic Surgery — An Intimidating Phrase for a Very Simple Procedure

Health and Fitness October 11, 2014

Foot and ankle surgeon

Arthroscopy: it sounds like a pretty intimating word, but it’s just the name for a special type of medical treatment wherein joint problems are diagnosed and treated. Using a very thin fiberoptic tube with a camera on the end (an “arthroscope”) and a small incision where a particular joint is located, an arthroscopic surgeon can examine — and in some cases, even treat — joint problems. Because the surgery is minimally invasive and is very simple, surgeons usually perform the surgery in outpatient facilities like physical therapy clinics or sports rehabilitation centers. Although this surgery can be performed on virtually any joint in the body, the most common types you’ll hear are arthroscopic back surgery, knee surgery, and shoulder surgery.

Because the procedure is so simple, patients are usually able to go home right after the surgery is finished (although some sort of anesthetic or pain killer is usually used, so driving oneself home after the surgery is definitely not a good idea). Like any medical procedure involving an anesthetic, patients are likely to experience aftereffects like grogginess and numbness, but these effects don’t last very long. Patients are usually encouraged to rest on the days following the procedure, and to give the joint area time to heal.

Depending on how serious the surgery was and which joint was tended to, patients may be encouraged to find a rehabilitation program that helps strengthen the joint slowly, ensuring that it stays healthy and functional in the long-term. Again, sports medicine and physical therapy clinics often have special programs for each type of arthroscopic surgery, even if they didn’t perform the actual surgery onsite, or they’ll have trained technicians who can create custom plans for patients that involve physical therapy exercises targeted on the particular joint.

In conclusion, arthroscopic surgery really isn’t as scary as it sounds! The procedures have been around for decades, they’re proven to be safe and effective, and they’re performed all over the world today.