If you're experiencing excruciating joint pain that isn't improving, redness in joints, or loss of support, you probably require a joint-specific arthroscopic procedure. With about 1.77 million arthroscopic procedures done annually in North America alone, you can quickly live a pain-free and comfortable life after the procedure. That said, here is what you need to know about arthroscopy.

What is Arthroscopy?

In a nutshell, arthroscopy is a surgical procedure for diagnosing and treating joint complications. It is a minimally invasive surgery done primarily on an outpatient basis. The procedure allows the surgeon to inspect the joint without making large incisions and recommend a proper treatment method. Arthroscopy is ideal for any joint problem, ranging from the knee to the elbow, hip, wrist, shoulder, and ankle.

What Diagnoses are Treated with Arthroscopy?

Usually, doctors consider arthroscopy ideal when X-rays and other imaging diagnoses fail to spot a patient's joint problem. During the procedure, the orthopedic doctor can also perform a corrective joint repair at the same time.

Common conditions treated with arthroscopic procedures include:

  • Inflamed joint linings
  • Recurrent dislocations in the shoulder
  • Scarring within joints
  • Loose bone fragments
  • Damaged or torn cartilage
  • Torn ligaments
What Diagnoses are Treated with Arthroscopy | Miers Johnson Orthopedics

What Happens During Arthroscopy?

Your orthopedic surgeon will perform arthroscopy in an outpatient room or hospital, and the anesthesia will vary depending on the joint. After anesthesia, your doctor will insert a pencil-thin instrument through a small cut in the joint. The arthroscope tool consists of a camera lens and a light, allowing the doctor to see inside the joint. The camera projects the image onto the screen, and your doctor will fill sterile fluid into the joint for clear visibility.

This allows your doctor to diagnose the problem and decide if you need either a specific surgery or a traditional "open" procedure. The surgeon will insert special tools through other tiny incisions to cut, shave, grip, and anchor stitches into the bone if you need surgery. In traditional procedures, the surgery can be rescheduled or done at the same time. Lastly, your doctor will remove the tools and close the wound with special stitches.

What is Recovery Like for Arthroscopy?

After arthroscopy, you'll go to a recovery room to rest for about an hour or more. Your doctor may prescribe some pain medication and exercise, including aspirin, to prevent blood clots. Besides, applying ice after 24 hours of the procedure is crucial to reduce swelling and avoid alcohol during recovery.

For knee or ankle arthroscopy, you may need crutches or a sling for the shoulder, elbow, and wrist for support. After a day of arthroscopy, replace surgical bandages with small strips to cover the cuts. For non-dissolvable stitches, your doctor will remove them after one or two weeks. Generally, keep the wound dry throughout the healing period for fast, infection-free recovery.

What is Recovery Like for Arthroscopy | Miers Johnson Orthopedics

Why Choose Dr. Miers Johnson for This Procedure?

Dr. Miers Johnson remains passionate about providing exceptional arthroscopy in Idaho. With decades of experience in orthopedic surgical specialties, you'll expect quality and professional services whenever you come to our facility. Contact us to learn more or schedule your arthroscopy procedure today!