The word “arthroscopy” refers to procedures performed by doctors to address joint-related issues either for observation, diagnosis or possible treatment. While it is possible to perform arthroscopy on any joint, it is most often used to address injury or inflammation on the appendages, such as the wrist, elbow and shoulder of the arm or the ankle or knee of the leg – or the hip.
Arthroscopy can be performed in a hospital or on an outpatient basis – depending upon the circumstances – and the anesthesia used may either be general, localized or epidural (administered through the spine.) The doctor will make a small incision to insert an instrument called an arthroscope to look more closely into the joint to make a proper diagnosis of the condition. If surgery is necessary, the doctor may use other instruments to address the issue, and will close the incision either with tape or stitches.
Depending upon the nature of the procedure, there may be some residual pain requiring medication, and arthroscopy may necessitate the use of a sling, crutches or a splint to aid in recovery, although arthroscopic surgery usually causes much less pain with a quicker recovery period. The doctor will provide complete information about patient steps to facilitate the recovery process.