Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure performed by Orthopaedic Surgeons to view, diagnose and treat joint problems. The term Arthroscopy comes from two Greek words, ‘arthro’ (joint) and ‘skopein’ (to look). The term simply means ‘to look inside the joint.’
Arthroscopic surgery has revolutionised the diagnosis and management of joint problems. Initially used only as a diagnostic tool prior to open surgery, the availability of better instruments and techniques has encouraged the use of arthroscopy for treating a variety of joint problems, avoiding complicated surgeries and longer recovery. In fact, except joint replacement and major intra-articular fractures, all other problems involving the hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow and wrist joint can be treated with arthroscopic surgery.
The procedure is carried out under General or Regional Anaesthesia. The Arthroscope (telescope) is introduced into the joint through a small puncture wound. Images are sent from the arthroscope to a television screen so that the surgeon is able to see the joint.Firstly, a detailed examination of the joint is performed, the problem identified and thereafter appropriate surgical treatment is carried out. Cartilage damage, ligament tear, etc., are treated with small instruments introduced into the joint through a second puncture wound.