Arthroscopic Surgery vs. Open Surgery: How Do They Compare?

arthroscopic surgery

Sizing Up the Main Differences and Benefits of Arthroscopic Surgery Compared to Open Surgery

In the world of orthopedics, there are a range of musculoskeletal conditions that can result in chronic pain, lack of mobility, reduced function, and other symptoms that affect quality of life. Common issues we treat include trauma injuries, arthritis, sports injuries, tendon and ligament tears, and more.

Whatever the case may be, our physicians at Mid-America Orthopedics develop individualized treatment plans that yield short- and long-term benefits. For example, a stress fracture necessitates pain management on the frontend with rehabilitation services and physical therapy to ensure the patient has fully recovered.

However, there are some scenarios where more aggressive forms of treatment are necessary. In those cases, surgery is usually the best option. There are two main types of surgery we perform at Mid-America Orthopedics: arthroscopic surgery and open surgery.

After defining what differentiates these two types of surgery, we’ll break down their role in advanced orthopedics, their benefits, and when they are commonly used.

What Is Arthroscopic Surgery?

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive form of surgery that involves making small incisions near the affected joint. A tiny camera called an arthroscope is inserted through one incision, allowing the surgeon to see within the joint on a monitor. Specialized instruments are then used through other small incisions to perform the procedures.

What Is Open Surgery?

When compared to arthroscopic surgery, open surgery involves making a larger incision directly over the affected joint. This provides the orthopedic surgeon with full access to the joint, allowing for a broader range of procedures. Once the procedure is complete, the incision is closed with sutures.

Scenarios When Arthroscopic Surgery Is Used

Arthroscopy is used in several procedures to treat a range of orthopedic conditions, including joint inflammation and acute and chronic injuries. It may also be used in conjunction with open surgery, such as arthroscopic hip surgery. The following are some common scenarios when arthroscopic surgery is used:

  • Shoulder impingement
  • Meniscal tears
  • Shoulder dislocation
  • Removal of loose bone or cartilage in a joint
  • Repair of torn ligaments
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Removal of synovium from a joint
  • ACL reconstruction
  • Arthritis
  • Torn cartilage repair
  • Rotator cuff repair

When Is Open Surgery Used?

If it is determined that arthroscopic surgery will not afford the surgeon adequate access to the joint or area in question, open surgery will be used as a last resort. Some of the most common scenarios requiring open surgery include:

  • Total or partial joint replacement surgery
  • Total or partial shoulder replacement
  • Spinal surgery
  • ACL reconstruction
  • Arthritis
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Bone fractures or breaks
  • Other complex procedures that require an unobstructed view

Benefits of Arthroscopic Surgery Versus Open Surgery

When evaluating advanced orthopedics, the benefits of arthroscopic surgery outweigh those of open surgery. Consider these benefits of each type of surgery.

Benefits of arthroscopic surgery:

  • Smaller incisions, resulting in reduced scarring and a quicker recovery.
  • Lower risk of infection due to smaller wounds.
  • Less postoperative pain and discomfort.
  • Faster return to normal activities.

Benefits of open surgery:

  • Provides surgeons with direct access to the joint, enabling comprehensive procedures.
  • Allows for more intricate surgeries and joint replacements.
  • Best for addressing severe joint injuries and fractures.

How to Find an Orthopedic Surgeon Near You in Wichita

If you are currently experiencing chronic pain or an ongoing musculoskeletal condition that is reducing your quality of life, chances are the possibility of surgery has crossed your mind. Fortunately, there are several forms of non-invasive treatment your orthopedic doctor will explore before arriving at surgical options.

If you’ve yet to do so, the best first step is to arrange an appointment so that you can receive a comprehensive examination. Your orthopedic doctor will collect your medical history, examine the affected area, and may order imaging, such as X-rays or an MRI. After discovering the root cause of your pain, they will develop an individualized treatment plan to address your symptoms and put you on the path to recovery.

Should surgery be necessary to resolve your medical condition, you can take comfort in knowing that Mid-America Orthopedics employs the most experienced surgeons in the Wichita area. They are well versed in performing arthroscopic surgery and open surgery to treat a variety of orthopedic issues.

Call (316) 630-9300 to speak with our scheduling department. For the convenience of our patients, we can typically arrange same-day or next-day appointments. You can also reach out to us using the contact form on our website.