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Video:What is Arthroscopic Surgery?

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The word 'arthroscopy' derives from the Greek word 'Arthro' which means joint. In this About.com video, learn about what arthroscopic surgery is--both the risks, and advantages of this procedure.See Transcript

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Transcript:What is Arthroscopic Surgery?

Hi, I'm Dr. Michael Gross from Active Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Hackensack, New Jersey. I'm here today for About.com to discuss arthroscopy.

What does 'Arthroscopy' Mean?

The word arthroscopy is derived from two Greek words: 'Arthro' which means joint, and 'scope' which means to look inside. In fact, arthroscopy is the technique of putting a small television camera in a joint to look inside and then evaluate and treat injuries and diseases.

Virtually every joint in the human body can be treated with arthroscopic surgery. Most common are knees, hips, shoulders, elbows and ankles. But even small joints in the fingers, toes, and jaw are accessible to the arthroscope.  

Arthroscopic Procedures

Some procedures are done with general anesthesia, but many others can be done with nerve blocks or local anesthetics. After the proper level of anesthesia is achieved, the surgeon inserts the arthroscope through a small incision about the size of a fingernail.

Advantages of Arthroscopic Surgery

Other incisions are made in which to place instruments needed to perform the planned procedure. Arthroscopic surgery has several advantages over traditional, open surgery.

It's less invasive, and since it uses small incisions, there is less scarring both to the soft tissues and the skin itself.  Because there is less soft tissue scarring, it is usually much easier to regain full range of motion and normal function. In addition, arthroscopic surgery is usually less painful and there is less blood loss than in open surgery.

Arthroscopic Surgery Risks

Understand that arthroscopic surgery is a surgical procedure and involves risks. Although they are not frequent, they may include infection, blood clots, problems with anesthesia, continued pain and others. These are serious risks and the decision to undergo arthroscopic surgery should be taken seriously.

That said, arthroscopic surgery is a 'less invasive' procedure, and when performed for the right problem, by an experienced surgeon, it is often very successful. Always ask your doctor for more information about any planned arthroscopic procedure and talk about the possible risks and benefits of undergoing the procedure. Thanks for watching.

I'm Dr. Michael Gross from Active Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. For more information, please visit About.com. 

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