Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive method which is the most modern solution in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic diseases.
Although initially, it was used to treat professional athletes, more and more everyday people undergo arthroscopic surgery to address joints problems. The procedure has a dual role and can be used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, it’s applicable to all joints (knee, shoulder, ankle, wrist, hip, elbow), but most frequent procedures involve the knee and the shoulder because these joints suffer more often both in sports and in the general population.
The advantages of the method include but are not limited to: safety, minimal surgical trauma, excellent aesthetic results, a high diagnostic sensitivity and lowest rate of complications compared to open surgical previous methods.
The biggest advantage of the method is the high efficiency, which is combined with very little inconvenience for the patient.
Control under “direct vision” is achieved by inserting into the joint a small camera called arthroscope that transfers an image from the inside of the joint on a screen at a magnification of about 20 times. This way all the anatomical structures of the joint are thoroughly checked and even very small lesions can be accurately repaired. For this reason, specially designed tools and implantable inert materials are used such as sutures and anchors. The arthroscope, tools and materials used are introduced into the joint through small incisions of about 5 mm length. Thus the injury to the skin and other healthy adjacent tissue is minimal. This means better aesthetic result, since the scars from the incisions practically disappear after a few months but more importantly much less postoperative pain. As a result, the use of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs is limited.
The anesthesia used in the procedure also helps limit the post-op use of drugs. For a shoulder surgery, it is necessary to combine regional and light general anesthesia with the application of laryngeal mask without the need for mechanical support of the patient’s breathing. This type of anesthesia ensures absolute analgesia without having to use powerful drugs during surgery. This type of anesthesia also offers faster and safer recovery without many side effects. Thus, allowing the patient to leave a few hours after surgery.
The shoulder is a complex joint and can move in multiple levels, more than any other joint in the body. This freedom of movement is achieved at the expense of the stability of the joint. Almost all shoulder disorders can now be treated arthroscopically. So diseases that afflict a large segment of the population both in everyday life and in the work environment can be fully restored.
The most common are:
- Rupture of tendon cuff of the shoulder
- Sub acromial impingement syndrome
- Calcific tendinitis
- Adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder
- Damage, dislocation or rupture of the tendon of the long head of the biceps brachial
- Rupture of the glenoid labral (mostly SLAP lesions)
- Osteoarthritis, synovitis, ruptured intra-articular meniscus of acromioclavicular joint
- Nerve pressure
- Dislocations of the shoulder
- Non-traumatic shoulder instability
- Some intra-articular fractures
- Damage, injury of articular cartilage
- Existence of intra-articular foreign bodies
The patient after the first few days after surgery can go about his daily occupations pain free (eg. Driving, typing, writing). Usually the joint is not immobilized for more than a few days. The severity of the injury, the quality of the surgical correction and the patient’s response to the recovery program are the parameters that determine the time of the patient’s return to heavy manual work and in sports activities (business or pleasure). Even in case where recovery is slower, it is achieved with fewer restrictions than those required by previous procedures. Finally, the long term results of the method are very well, leaving the vast majority of patients satisfied without pain and allowing them to fully return to their daily activities and sports.