doctor examines patient

Arthroscopic Surgery

At Providence, we understand how important it is for you to stay active and do the things you enjoy. To keep you on the move, we offer some of the most advanced orthopedic procedures available, including arthroscopic surgery. 

Arthroscopic surgery is also known as arthroscopy. It’s a minimally invasive surgery that allows us to look inside your joint with a thin instrument called an arthroscope. The arthroscope has a light and a camera on it that sends images to a monitor. By viewing the monitor, your surgeon gets a magnified view of your internal anatomy. 

Seeing directly inside your joint makes it possible to identify many orthopedic conditions, such as torn cartilage, sprains and anterior cruciate ligament damage. At the same time, surgeons can often correct these problems using special surgical instruments.

The incisions for arthroscopic surgery are much smaller than those used in traditional open surgery. As a result, you may experience less trauma, pain and scarring when undergoing these procedures. In most cases, your recovery time is much shorter than open surgery as well. 

The joints we most commonly examine and treat with arthroscopy include the ankle, elbow, foot, hip, knee, shoulder and wrist.  

In most cases, we do arthroscopic surgery on an outpatient basis. This means you go home the day of your surgery. 

Prior to your operation we will give you any special instructions. Sometimes, for example, you must stop taking certain medications before surgery. And you’ll need to avoid eating and drinking for a certain period before your operation.

You will receive anesthesia. The type – local, regional or general – depends on the procedure you’re having. It will prevent you from feeling pain during surgery.

Once we properly position you in the operating room, we make one tiny incision for the arthroscope and may fill your joint with sterile fluid to make it easier to see. If your surgeon identifies a problem that we can fix at the same time, we make additional incisions that allow us to pass tiny surgical instruments into the joint. Sometimes the surgeon will decide you need open surgery. We may do it at that point or at a later date.

After your procedure, we close your incisions and monitor you for a period of time before you return home. You won’t be able to drive yourself, so it’s important to have someone available to take you home. It’s also a good idea to have someone stay with you initially.

Prior to your discharge, we give you instructions for home care and follow-up and let you know when you can resume normal activities. Your surgeon may prescribe pain medication as well. 

Arthroscopic surgery is very safe and serious complications are rare. Like all types of surgery, however, it does have some risks. Among them are:  

  • Blood clots  
  • Infection  
  • Tissue damage