Arthroscopy is a surgical technique that consists of operating inside a joint through small holes (called portals). It is included, among many other techniques, within the so-called ‘minimally invasive surgery’, together with ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancretography) or neuroendoscopy.
In the preoperative period, before starting the operation, the patient is anesthetized -either generally, regionally or locally- to prevent him/her from feeling any pain. After this first step, the doctor disinfects the outside of the joint to be operated on and the area is covered with a surgical drape.
The arthroscopies themselves are performed by introducing (through one of the portals) into the joint a cannula that incorporates a camera and a light and operating through the other holes. Once completed, the instruments used are removed and the incisions are closed with stitches.
Although at the beginning they were only performed on the knee, given its condition of being the largest joint in the human body, nowadays they can be performed on any joint in the body, although the most frequent ones are shoulder, hip and knee arthroscopy.
For post-surgical treatment, the patient is advised to rest the joint that has been operated on and elevate it, as well as to apply ice to it. A bandage should be applied to the area to immobilize it and prevent it from getting wet (both the bandage and the wound).
The advantages of arthroscopy
The results obtained from it are very positive. Almost any joint pathology can be treated by arthroscopy (even some fractures) with the advantage of being less aggressive for the patient, accelerating hospital discharge and his recovery and incorporation to social life. In addition, the small size of the instruments used to make the incisions makes scarring less important and minimizes the side effects of this type of surgery.