What is arthroscopy? The term hails from the Greek words “arthro,” meaning joint, and “skopein,” meaning to examine. Therefore, the term literally means to look within the joint.

Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure used by orthopedic surgeons to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint.

In an arthroscopic examination, an orthopedic surgeon makes a small incision in the patient's skin. The surgeon then inserts delicate, illuminated devices into the affected joint. These instruments often contain a small magnifying lens and lighting system.

By attaching the arthroscope to a miniature camera, your orthopedic specialist is able to see the interior of your affected joint through a minute incision rather than a larger incision often required in traditional joint surgery. The camera attached to the arthroscope displays the image of the joint on a television screen and allows your surgeon to see into the joint and observe cartilage, ligaments, and under your kneecap. The orthopedic specialist can then determine the amount or type of injury and repair or correct the problem immediately if necessary.

Arthroscopy requires the use of anesthetics and special equipment in a hospital operating room or outpatient surgical suite. Patients are generally given a general, spinal or local anesthetic. Arthroscopic surgery offers patients a quicker recovery period in comparison to traditional joint surgery.

Arthroscopy was initially used as a diagnostic tool for planning standard open surgery. But with development of advanced instrumentation and surgical techniques, many conditions can now be treated arthroscopically. Most meniscus tears in the knee, for example, can be treated successfully through arthroscopic surgery.

The Signature Medical Group practitioners are board-certified orthopedic surgeons whose expertise, experience, and leadership in their profession translate into exceptional medical care and treatment for you.

If you are in St. Louis or Kansas City and are in need of arthroscopic surgery, contact the orthopedic specialists of Signature Medical Group.

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