Orthopedic Procedures

What Is An Arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a surgical technique that can diagnose and treat problems in the knee and shoulder joints. Arthroscopy is best explained by looking at the etymology of the word. Arthroscopy comes from two Greek words -- arthro (joint) and skopein (to look). Arthroscopy literally means to look within a joint. The procedure is quite common, but also quite amazing. There are limited risks and the outlook is good for most patients. Your recovery time and prognosis will depend on the severity of the knee or shoulder problem and the complexity of the required procedure.

During the procedure, Dr. Hayter will make a very small incision and insert a tiny camera — called an arthroscope — into your joint. This allows him to view the inside of the joint on a screen. He can then investigate a problem and, if necessary, correct the issue using small instruments within the arthroscope.

Why Do I Need an Arthroscopy?

Medical history, physical examination, and x-rays are used to diagnose various types of arthritis. Sometimes that isn't enough, and diagnosis is still inconclusive. By actually looking into the affected joint, Dr. Hayter can diagnose or detect:

  • Inflammation.
  • Rotator cuff tears.
  • Dislocations.
  • Meniscal tears of the knee.
  • Chondromalacia.
  • Anterior cruciate ligament tear.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Loose bone or loose cartilage fragments.
  • Patella that’s out of position.
  • Removal of a Baker’s cyst.
  • Fractures in the knee bones.
  • Swollen synovium (the lining in the joint).

As previously said, arthroscopic surgery is not just diagnostic. In some cases, it can serve as surgery to repair the problem that was detected.

The Benefits of Arthroscopy

There is an obvious benefit over "open surgery" -- recovery is quicker and smoother with arthroscopic surgery. Patients typically have arthroscopic surgery on an outpatient basis and can be back home several hours after the procedure has been completed.

Recovering from Arthroscopy

Within a few days, many patients can go back to work or school and resume normal daily activities.

But, ultimately the outcome is individual and depends on the patient's condition and overall health.

The small wounds usually heal in a few days. Dressing placed during the operation can be changed to adhesive strips the morning after surgery. Though the wounds are small and pain is minimal after arthroscopic surgery, it takes several weeks for the joint to fully recover.

Together you and Dr. Hayter will discuss your treatment options and decide on the best course of action to help you get back to enjoying your life.

Please contact the office or our Nurse Coordinator, Jamie Flores, R.N. at 727-515-5546 if you have any questions or concerns.