Arthroscopy allows doctors to diagnose and/or treat many joint problems utilizing a minimally invasive surgical method. In this procedure a tiny camera, called an arthroscope, is introduced into the joint through a small incision. The video captured by the arthroscope is projected onto a viewing screen enabling the surgeon to see all of the structures in the joint in great detail. At the same time miniaturized surgical instruments to perform tasks associated with the diagnosis and repair of the joint are inserted through other incisions.
When indicated, an arthroscopic procedure has some advantages over an open surgery. Because smaller incisions are required and there is less disruption to surrounding structures, post-operative pain and recovery time is generally reduced. Additionally these operations can often be performed as outpatient procedures.
The wrist is an exquisitely complex joint with eight small bones and a network of many connecting ligaments. After the knee and shoulder, the wrist is the third most common joint to undergo arthroscopic procedures.
Wrist arthroscopy is typically performed as an outpatient procedure. It is often used to locate and identify sources of wrist pain and when necessary used to repair or remove damaged wrist tissue.
Wrist arthroscopy may be performed following an injury or cases of persistent acute or chronic wrist pain, as well as other symptoms associated with an internal problem in the wrist. It can be a useful diagnostic and treatment tool in cases where wrist pain has not resolved despite a course of non-surgical treatment. An arthroscopic wrist procedure may also be recommended for ganglionic cyst removal, repairing ligament tears, carpal tunnel release, and the treatment of wrist fractures.
Post-operative recovery depends on the type of procedures performed in conjunction with the wrist arthroscopy. In more complex cases involving fracture fixation, extensive soft tissue repair, or joint reconstruction, recovery may take several weeks to months.
To promote a smooth recovery, it is important to abide by the surgeon’s post- operative care instructions and to follow their recommendations for a return to daily activities along with a prescribed physical rehabilitation regimen.