Type of Surgery
Last updated: 11/24/2009
The risks of arthroscopic surgery are much less than open surgery, but they are not nonexistent. The risk of any surgery carries with it danger in the use of anesthesia, including heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia, and blood clots. The risks are rare,...
but they increase with the age of the patient. Blood clots are the most common dangers, but they occur infrequently in arthroscopic surgery. Other risks include infections at the surgery site or at the skin level, bleeding, and skin scars.
Risks related specifically to arthroscopic surgery are largely ones related to injury at the time of surgery. Arteries, veins, and nerves can be injured, resulting in discomfort in minor cases and leg weakness or decreased sensation in more serious complications. These injuries are rare. One major risk of arthropscopic surgery to the knee for conditions related to tissue tears is that the pain may not be relieved by the operation; it may even become worse.
Athletes commonly tear or rupture the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee and require surgery to repair it. The narrator is this 3D animation explains how the patellar tendon is used to reconstruct the ACL.
Step A shows the anatomy of the knee from the front with the leg bent. To repair a torn meniscus, three small incisions are made into the knee to admit laparoscopic instruments (B). Fluid is injected into the joint to aid in the operation. The injury is visualized via the instruments, and the torn area is removed (C). (Illustration by GGS Inc.)
Arthroscopy (also called arthroscopic surgery) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which an examination and sometimes treatment of damage of the interior of a joint is performed using an arthroscope, a type of endoscope that is inserted into the joint through a small incision. Arthroscopic procedures can be performed either to evaluate or to treat many orthopaedic conditions including torn floating cartilage, torn surface cartilage, ACL reconstruction, and trimming damaged cartilage.
The advantage of arthroscopy over traditional open surgery is that the joint does not have to be opened up fully. Instead, only two small incisions are made - one for the arthroscope and one for the surgical instruments. This reduces recovery time and may increase the rate of surgical success due to less trauma to the connective tissue. It is especially useful for professional athletes, who frequently injure knee joints and require fast healing time. There is also less scarring, because of the smaller incisions. Irrigation fluid is used to distend the joint and make a surgical space. Sometimes this fluid leaks into the surrounding soft tissue causing extravasation and edema
New procedures like minimally invasive procedures are often subject to scrutiny, but I think that one of the biggest problems facing these innovative procedures is for people to understand exactly what we do.
-Dr. Michael Perry, Laser Spine institute
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