"Arthro" means "joint" and "scopy" meaning "look". Arthroscopy generally means to look into the joint. With the development of extremely small video cameras, fibre optic cable and specialized instruments, it is possible to look into the small joints such as the wrists and hands using this technique.
Through small incisions, the arthroscope is inserted into the joint to identify the problem. Once the problem has been identified, treatment procedures can then proceed either through the scope or otherwise with open surgery.
Generally, arthroscopy is an effective means of preventing damage to normal structures by making smaller incisions through the joint capsule and ligaments around the joint. It also reduces infection and drying of the articular cartilage, thus, leading to faster recovery time.
Arthroscopy has greatly enhanced the orthopedic surgeon's understanding of problems around the joints which in turn provides a more effective and safer way of performing surgical procedures of the joint.
The arthroscopy of the wrist is the gold standard for investigation and treatment of many wrist problems such as carpal instabilities, TFCC (Triangular Fibro Cartilage Complex)injuries, carpal and distal radial fractures.
Most arthroscopic surgical procedures are done on an outpatient basis. Generally, patients are not advised not to eat or drink anything after midnight before surgery. There are three main types of anesthesia: local, regional and general. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages.
For surgical procedures of the wrist or hand, a tourniquet may be used to stop the blood flow temporarily. This makes it easier for the surgeon to see inside the joint. Several small incisions (one to six) measuring one quarter of a centimeter will be made. The joint will be filled with clear fluid which expands the space and washes away blood and other materials so as to allow the camera to have a clearer view. Still pictures and video can be taken through the arthroscope to record the condition of the joint.
Some potential complications include damage to the joint structures or nerves and blood vessels around the joint, and infection of the joint or soft tissues around the joint. However, these complications are infrequent.
If you require further information or would like to see how we can assist you, Please feel free to contact us to discuss possible treatment options.