One of the most common – and most useful – tools of the Orthopedic Surgeon involves three small holes and a TV screen. McLeod Seacoast Orthopedic Surgeon Eric Heimberger, M.D., details arthroscopy and its benefits:
Below are highlights of Dr. Heimberger’s comments:
Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgery for treating or diagnosing problems around the knee.
It involves making three small incisions over the front of the knee and putting a small lighted instrument into the knee. This allows us to look throughout the knee joint with the image displayed on a television screen on the wall. By doing so, we can actually look at the entire knee joint and diagnose or fix a person’s problem.
Typically from a diagnostic standpoint, the arthroscopy allows us to look at the joint and determine:
With arthroscopic surgery, the most common condition treated is usually cartilage tears or what we call meniscal tears. That is the number one procedure that’s performed arthroscopically. Other procedures would be ligament reconstruction, such as the anterior and posterior crucial ligament, also removing bone spurs or treating knee infections.
All of those can be done arthroscopically on an outpatient basis. Typically, these patients are up, walking out the door the same day of the surgery and experiencing a relatively quick recovery time.
In summary, arthroscopic surgery has been around for a long time. It’s a very common, outpatient procedure with a fairly quick recovery time. Most patients do not require any physical therapy and the results are almost immediate. By the time we see the patient back in the office two weeks after the procedure, they’re usually doing better across the board, as far as their symptoms go.