Arthroscopic surgery makes it possible for surgeons to operate on a joint without large incisions. only a few little "holes" are necessary.
A miniature video camera and miniture instruments are inserted into the joint cavity and manipulated from the outside under indirect vision on a TV screen. A saline solution is used to continuously rinse the joint during the procedure, in order to allow for clear vision and to evacuate debris.
Below, this is the kind of view one gets during knee arthroscopy:
This image shows the intact articular cartilage of the kneecap.
above, a joint surface with normal cartilage, and at the back a torn medial meniscus.
above, lateral meniscus with marginal degeneration;
here, the same meniscus after partail resection (the yellowish part).
here, a torn piece of meniscus is being held by a palpating hook.
What operations can be done arthroscopically?
anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
extraction of foreign or loose bodies
synovectomy for inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
This film shows a meniscal tear.The postoperative rehabilitation program may vary according to the nature of the problem: for simple meniscal tears, full weight-bearing is allowed immediately after the surgery, with no cast nor splint; if the cruciate ligament has been reconstructed, the postoperative program is a lot more complicated.