If you have chronic joint pain, your doctor may order a minimally invasive test called an arthroscopic exam. It is used to diagnose and, in some cases, treat joint problems without open surgery.
During an arthroscopic exam, your doctor will make a small incision (cut) in your skin. The cut will be large enough to insert a pencil-sized, flexible tube. The tube contains fiber optic lights and a tiny camera that projects images onto a television screen.
As your doctor gently threads the tube under your skin and into your joint, he or she can see various structures. These include bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage. By thoroughly examining your joint, your doctor can confirm the severity of your medical condition or injury – and decide how to treat it.
Certain conditions can also be treated or repaired arthroscopically. This is sometimes referred to as arthroscopic surgery.
If you are eligible for arthroscopic surgery, your doctor will make a few more small cuts in your skin. He or she will insert special surgical instruments through these cuts. Then they will fix your problem using the attached lights and camera for guidance.
Several joint problems can be treated arthroscopically. These include:
If you need an arthroscopic exam or surgery, you’ll find yourself in capable hands at Mercy. Our orthopedic specialists perform thousands of arthroscopic procedures every year. This allows us to accurately diagnose your joint problem – then treat you promptly and appropriately.
Our areas of expertise include:
Before your procedure, we'll make sure you understand the benefits and risks. We’ll also make sure you know what to expect during and after the procedure, including recovery.
If joint pain makes it hard to move around and get things done, it may be time to see your doctor. Thanks to arthroscopic technology and other advances in medicine, we can find out what’s causing your symptoms faster and easier than ever before. And the sooner we diagnose you, the more quickly we can get you back on your feet and feeling good.