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Arthroscopic Surgery

Arthroscopic surgery has been one of the most significant developments in the field of orthopaedic medicine. It has enabled surgeons to gain multi-directional views inside a joint and revolutionised the ability to examine, diagnose and treat certain joint problems without open surgery.

Consisting of a light source, lens and video camera the arthroscope is inserted through a tiny incision in the skin approximately 5 millimetres in size. Other skin incisions are made through which special instruments, designed to cut, shave or remove loose bone fragments and cartilage, are inserted to carry out the operation. The images from inside the joint are relayed back to the surgeon on a screen in the operating theatre.

Arthroscopy is now commonly used to examine, diagnose and treat problems in the knee, shoulder, wrist, elbow, hip and ankle joints. Advances in instrumentation have allowed previously ‘open’ surgery, such as anterior cruciate (knee) and rotator cuff (shoulder) repairs, to be performed via arthroscopy.

Arthroscopy has distinct advantages for the patient including reduced scarring, less disruption to surrounding soft tissue structures, shorter hospital stay and faster recovery. Some arthroscopic procedures can be done under spinal or regional anaesthesia, therefore eliminating the need for a general anaesthetic.

Your specialist will be able to advise whether arthroscopic surgery is relevant to your particular joint problem or injury. You can read more about arthroscopic surgery in our Patient Information section.