Breaking Down the Process of this Non-Invasive Surgery from Your Orthopedic Doctor
Nobody wants to undergo surgery, but in some cases, that is the only way to ensure that joint pain and stiffness are permanently relieved. Surgeries are typically performed in one of two ways: open surgery and arthroscopy.
Open surgery requires your orthopedic surgeon to make a large incision (up to 8 inches) so that they can properly access the joint. This type of surgery can take several months to recover from. On the other hand, arthroscopy utilizes a pinhole-sized camera that is inserted through small incisions around the joint. This allows your orthopedic surgeon to see inside the joint without causing significant tissue damage via the incision.
Out of the two surgeries, arthroscopic surgery is the preferred method by both orthopedic doctors and patients alike. That’s because this method of advanced orthopedics has a much lower chance of infection and much faster recovery times for patients.
So, what exactly can patients expect during an arthroscopic surgery? Let’s break this down step-by-step.
What Conditions Require Arthroscopic Surgery?
Before concluding that a patient needs surgery, your orthopedic doctor will determine the exact condition of the joint using arthroscopy. They will be able to diagnose your knee, shoulder, elbow, or other joint through the incisions using the arthroscopic camera.
Some of the most common conditions that are treated through arthroscopic surgery include:
- The removal of loose bone fragments
- Torn or damaged cartilage
- Joint linings suffering from inflammation
- Torn ligaments
- Internal joint scarring
Looking for an orthopedic surgeon near you that performs arthroscopic hip surgery or arthroscopic knee surgery? Contact us to learn more.
What Are the Potential Risks of Arthroscopic Surgery?
Arthroscopic surgery is generally considered one of the safer forms of surgery that is performed; however, it is not completely without risk. As with any surgery, complications can happen. Some of the most common ones include:
- Blood clots
- Tissue and/or nerve damage
It’s important to keep in mind that these complications are less likely to happen if you are working with an experienced orthopedic surgeon with a deep background in advanced orthopedics. At Mid-America Orthopedics, our surgeons have decades of combined experience working with a wide variety of patients and orthopedic issues.
Preparation for Arthroscopic Surgery
Arthroscopic surgery is generally an outpatient surgery, which means that patients will be discharged from the hospital the same day of their surgery. To prepare, your orthopedic surgeon will advise you to do the following:
- Avoid taking certain medications and supplements that might negatively impact the surgery
- Refrain from eating solid food around 8 hours before the surgery
- Wear loose and comfortable clothing the day of the surgery
- Arrange for transport from the surgery by a friend or family member
What to Expect During Arthroscopic Surgery
Although every patient’s surgery is a little bit different, there are some items that remain consistent from person-to-person. All patients will change out of their regular clothing and put on either a hospital gown or other form of clothing that allows for unfettered access to the joint being operated on. The nurse or surgeon’s assistant will place an intravenous catheter in the patient to deliver a mild sedative.
Next, anesthesia will be delivered to the patient. Most arthroscopic surgeries only require local or regional anesthesia; however, there are some cases where general anesthesia is required, and the patient will be fully put under.
After that, your orthopedic surgeon will begin performing the surgery, starting with the incisions that will allow for the insertion of the arthroscopic camera and surgical tools. Due to the anesthesia, patients should not experience any pain. At most, they will feel a little bit of discomfort or pressure.
Typically, arthroscopic surgery doesn’t take long. For instance, arthroscopic knee surgery takes roughly an hour. Once surgery is completed, your orthopedic surgeon will suture the incisions and apply any applicable wound dressings.
What to Expect After Surgery
Once surgery has concluded, your orthopedic surgeon will review your recovery plan before officially discharging you. Most patients are given prescription medications to help with the pain and inflammation. They may also suggest a routine of resting, using compression devices, and icing the joint. Additionally, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend that you use crutches or a temporary splint, depending on the joint that’s been operated on. Physical therapy may also be recommended as part of your rehab process.
Whatever joint was operated on, you can rest assured that your orthopedic surgeon will give you precise directions to follow to ensure you’re on the quickest road to recovery.
Setting Up Your Appointment to See an Orthopedic Surgeon Near You
If you are experiencing joint pain or discomfort, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Mid-America Orthopedics has decades of combined experience diagnosing orthopedic issues in a wide variety of patients. In fact, many of our patients are able to get properly diagnosed and sent home with a treatment plan on the same day as their first visit.