It is always ideal to avoid surgery if you need treatment for a painful or debilitating musculoskeletal condition, such as joint pain. Your orthopedist or sports doctor will first likely try alternative methods, such as prescription medication, physical therapy, joint injections (which are administered by your orthopedic doctor), and other rehabilitative or alternative therapies.
However, if your condition fails to respond well to these conservative remedies, your orthopedic physician may recommend minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery. Arthroscopy is performed by orthopedic surgeons to analyze, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint. It’s a minor surgery that is performed on an outpatient basis, so you can go home the same day as the procedure is done.
Let’s talk about what’s involved in this innovative joint surgery, and where you can go in Little Rock for orthopedic treatment that works to resolve your joint pain or sports injury.
The Arthroscopic Surgery Procedure
Arthroscopy can be performed on any joint, but it is most often done on the knee, shoulder, elbow, ankle, hip, or wrist. Your doctor may recommend it if you are experiencing chronic joint pain and inflammation, have injured the joint, or have damaged the joint over time due to repetitive stress. For example, arthroscopic knee surgery is an excellent treatment option for chronic or severe knee pain that doesn’t necessarily warrant total knee replacement surgery.
Arthroscopic surgery involves the use of several small incisions around the joint. These are done in order to insert an arthroscope into the joint to view the damage and guide the surgery; the guidance is thanks to fiber-optic video camera technology at the end of the arthroscope.
The arthroscope also has a light function, which works together with the camera functionality to project an image of the joint onto a monitor in the surgery room. This allows the surgeon to see inside the joint in real time.
An Alternative to Joint Replacement Surgery
Once the surgeon looks inside the joint and diagnoses the problem, they may be able to perform a full repair right away. The issue may be caused by small bone shards in the joint, awkwardly shaped cartilage which must be filed down and smoothed, or a bone spur which has formed in the joint. The doctor will use tiny tools to perform these procedures during arthroscopy.
After the procedure, the wound is closed with special tape or stitches.
The type of anesthesia used during arthroscopic surgery depends on the joint being repaired and the suspected problem. It may require general anesthesia, in which you will be asleep during the surgery. If the issue is very minor, your surgeon may numb the area and allow you to remain awake during the procedure.
Recovery and Recuperation After Arthroscopy
You will be instructed to apply an ice pack to the area periodically for at least the first 24 hours to reduce swelling and pain. You’ll also be advised to take pain medicine as prescribed, and not to drink alcohol. Depending on the extent of the surgery, you may need to temporarily use crutches, a splint, or a sling for support as you recover.
The good news is that arthroscopic surgery usually results in less joint pain and stiffness than traditional open surgery, and recovery also generally takes less time.
Arthroscopic Surgery in Little Rock, Arkansas
Is joint pain preventing you from doing the things you enjoy doing, or is it interfering with simple everyday activities? If so, Little Rock knee surgeon Dr. William Hefley can give you an efficient and accurate assessment and determine whether arthroscopy is right for you. He may also recommend and administer a less-invasive solution if that would work, such as a joint injection treatment using cortisone or viscosupplementation.
Dr. Hefley is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who can help relieve your joint pain and restore your mobility so you can get back to your active lifestyle. Call us today at (800) 336-2412 or use our online form to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you!