The field of arthroscopic surgery has experienced a number of incredible advances in the last few years. Through the latest techniques, it is now possible for surgeons to make smaller incisions; with less tissue dissection, surgeries now have a higher success rate, and patients enjoy a faster recovery time. In order to fully appreciate the latest advances in this form of surgery, we first need to explain what it is and look back at its history. Once this has been covered, this article examines the most common types of arthroscopic surgery and discusses the impact of new technology and techniques.
What Is Arthroscopy?
It is essentially a surgical procedure used by orthopaedic surgeons to see, diagnose, and treat any problems found inside a joint. The word comes from the Greek “arthro” (which means joint) and “skopein” (which means to look). During an examination of this nature, a surgeon will create a tiny incision into a patient’s skin before inserting miniature instruments containing a lighting system and a small lens. This makes it easier to see inside the joint since its structures are both magnified and illuminated ophtalmologues Courbevoie.
Light is transmitted through fiber optics to the end of the arthroscope. As it is attached to a television camera, the surgeon can see the interior of the joint through the tiny incision. The surgeon can inspect the cartilage and ligaments and can even see beneath the kneecap, for example. This makes it easy for an experienced surgeon to accurately diagnose problems and work on fixing them. The small incision means less damage and a substantially faster recovery time.
How Is It Performed?
Though arthroscopic surgery is easier on the body than “open” surgery, patients still need some form of anesthetic, which depends on where the surgical site is. A tiny incision will be made so the arthroscope can be inserted. It is possible there will be several other incisions made in order to see other areas of the joint or to insert further instruments.
At one time, an arthroscope was only used as a diagnostic tool for the planning of open surgery. With the improvement in surgical techniques and instrumentation, an increasing number of conditions can be treated via arthroscopic surgery. For example, it is increasingly common to treat the majority of meniscal tears using arthroscopic surgery.
Once the procedure has been completed, a dressing will be used to cover the incision(s). Patients will then be taken to a recovery room, but many people don’t require any form of pain medication. Prior to being discharged, your surgeon will provide you with details of how to care for the incisions and also give you a list of exercises to perform in order to speed up recovery. There will be a follow-up appointment where the surgeon inspects the incisions and removes any sutures before discussing your rehabilitation program.
In most cases, the tiny puncture wounds only take a few days to heal. The dressing is normally removed the day after the procedure, and adhesive strips are placed over the wounds. Though there is little pain felt in the aftermath of the surgery and the wounds heal very quickly, the joint may still take some time to recover 100 percent.
The aforementioned rehabilitation program that patients are prescribed is designed to speed up this process. Although arthroscopic surgery is producing incredible results, there is still no accounting for individual recovery time. Those who are already in good physical condition will recover much faster than individuals who do not partake in athletic activity.
History of Arthroscopy
Few orthopaedic advances in the last 100 years can match the impression arthroscopic surgery has made on the medical landscape. The first instance of this kind of surgery occurred in 1918 when Professor Kenji Takagi performed an arthroscopy on a cadaver knee using a cystoscope. In the 1950s, a student of Takagi’s by the name of Dr. Masaki Watanabe helped to improve the field of arthroscopy.
He helped develop arthroscopes so they could be used to examine joints and published the “Atlas of Arthroscopy” along with several colleagues. At around the same time, Dr. Eugene Bircher began using arthroscopes on live patients in the United States and published the results of these surgeries. By the 1980s, it was possible to use arthroscopes for surgery, and a host of new techniques and implements were developed on the back of it. To date, shoulder and knee joints have gained the most benefit. With greater experience and improved simulation training models, the learning curve for arthroscopic surgery has also decreased, and this can only be good news for the future.