Arthroscopic Surgery

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive technique that offers orthopedic surgeons the ability to access, navigate, and operate on a given joint through very small incisions. The San Antonio Orthopaedic Group is pleased to offer arthroscopic surgery for the shoulder, hip, knee, ankle, wrist, and elbow.

What is Arthroscopic Surgery?


Arthroscopy comes from the Greek words arthro, meaning "joint," and skopein, meaning "to look." Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive technique used by orthopedic surgeons to look inside a joint to diagnose and treat joint problems. You might also hear arthroscopic surgery referred to as a joint scope.

In an arthroscopic procedure, the surgeon inserts the arthroscope, an instrument containing a lens and fiber optic lighting system, through a small incision in the patient's skin. The arthroscope is then attached to very small television camera, which displays the view from the arthroscope on a television screen in the operating room.

This magnified view allows the orthopedic surgeon to see and explore the interior of the joint to diagnose the severity or type of injury. Initially, arthroscopic surgery was only used as a diagnostic tool, but today many conditions and injuries can also be repaired arthroscopically.

Why Arthroscopy?


Dr. Stephen S. Burkhart, orthopedic surgeon and shoulder specialist, discusses arthroscopic surgery and its benefits.

Benefits of Arthroscopy


Compared to open surgery (where the surgeon makes a larger incision to access the joint in question), arthroscopic surgery offers several benefits:

  • Reduced Pain - With smaller incisions and smaller instruments, patients undergoing arthroscopic procedures tend to experience less postoperative pain.
  • Reduced Cost - Arthroscopic surgery can most often be performed on an outpatient basis, without requiring an overnight stay at the hospital. For this reason among others, arthroscopic surgery tends to be less expensive than open surgery.
  • Faster Recovery - Depending on the procedure(s) performed, arthroscopic surgery generally results in a faster recovery period than open surgery.
  • Improved Visualization - Arthroscopic surgery offers the surgeon a magnified and enhanced view of the interior of the joint.

Please note: arthroscopic surgery can also be used in combination with open surgery for some procedures.

Which Joints Are Treated Arthroscopically at TSAOG?


Arthroscopic surgery is most commonly performed on the knee, shoulder, and ankle. However, it can also be performed on the hip, wrist, and elbow. The San Antonio Orthopaedic Group is very pleased to be able to offer arthroscopic specialists for each of these six joints. Click on the links below to learn more about arthroscopic ankle surgery, arthroscopic elbow surgery, arthroscopic hip surgery, arthroscopic knee surgery, arthroscopic shoulder surgery, and arthroscopic wrist surgery.

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