Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in Orthopedics which is used to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint. The word arthroscopy comes from two Greek words, “arthro” which means “joint” and “skopein” which means to “look”. It means “to look within the joint.”
In arthroscopy surgery, small incisions are made in the patients’ skin and thin pencil size instruments are inserted into the joint. With the help of these instruments, the joint structures are visualized as magnified pictures on a monitor screen, the whole of the joint can be inspected and the pathology/disease are treated through the same small holes. Arthroscopy surgery needs highly sophisticated and expensive instruments and specially trained surgeons.
So what are the advantages of arthroscopy? First of all, it is a minimally invasive surgery. That means we need not open up the whole joint as in traditional open surgery. This causes less trauma to the joints and tissues, thus recovery time is very fast. Patient can be discharged within few days or some of them can be done as “day surgery” i.e. no admission needed. Patients can return to their normal work or sports quicker. With this keyhole surgery, other complications of open surgery are also reduced. Since the incisions are small, it is also more aesthetic. The complete joint can be visualized with the help of special instruments so pathology anywhere inside the joint can be addressed with the help of arthroscopy surgery, which might not be amenable with open surgery.
Literally all joints can be visualized with an arthroscope, but the most common joints which are being treated are knee, shoulder, ankle, wrist, hip and elbow.
Arthroscopy can also be used as a diagnostic tool for an accurate diagnosis of a joint pathology, as it gives direct view of the joint and sometimes other investigative tools (such as X Rays, CT scans and MRI) are inconclusive.
What are the most common diseases where arthroscopy surgery is performed?Acute or chronic injuries of the ligaments and soft tissues of the joints (eg. Cruciate ligaments injury of the knee joint, meniscal tears of the knee joint, rotator cuff tears of the shoulder joint, recurrent dislocation of the shoulder joints, etc.), cartilage injuries of different joints, arthritis and osteoarthritis of different joints, loose body or foreign body removal from different joints, etc. Arthroscopy surgery is mostly popular among sportsmen and in sports injuries, as its results are very good and the rehabilitation time is fast, so that the sportsmen can return to their sports quickly.
Although Arthroscopy surgery is a very beneficial surgical procedure in orthopedics, only few centers provide this facility in Nepal. Suvekchya International Hospital & Research center, SItapaila has a strong team and the facility for this special surgery and has been providing this surgery since the hospital’s inception at very reasonable costs.
Dr Rupesh K Vaidya MD MS
Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon
Arthroscopy, Joint replacement & Sports Medicine
Suvekchya International Hospital & Research Center.