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