Surgery is an amazing tool that can help people live longer and have an overall better quality of life. Surgical intervention is never something to take lightly, as there are always possible complications and damage that can occur to adjacent soft tissue not directly involved in the procedure. Recovery can involve varying degrees of pain and time taken to rest and heal. Patients may also have to undergo physical rehabilitation to retrain muscles and tendons or strengthen parts of the body that became weak from lack of use.
However, the development of minimally-invasive surgery has revolutionized the ways that surgeons can help their patients, especially in the field of orthopedics. Below are some of the minimally-invasive procedures orthopedic surgeons use and how they can benefit patients.
Arthroscopy is a special type of minimally-invasive surgery that can be used for treatment as well as a diagnostic tool. With this procedure, the orthopedic surgeon can diagnose, evaluate the extent of an injury, and repair certain damage. Conservative treatments are always your first option when you have an orthopedic injury, but if the surgeon recommends surgery following a thorough exam and possible diagnostic tests, arthroscopy may be able to help repair the injury. Some conditions that can be treated with arthroscopy include ligament and tendon tears in the knee, ankle, elbow, and shoulder. Arthroscopy can also be used to repair cartilage damage, and to remove bone spurs.
Before arthroscopy was developed, a surgeon could not see the muscles and tendons inside of a joint with a high level of accuracy without cutting it open. The need for invasive exploratory surgery has been greatly reduced or eliminated by arthroscopy.
In an arthroscopic procedure, the surgeon creates one or more small incisions through which narrow tools are carefully guided. An arthroscope is an instrument that is about the size of a pencil that contains a camera that projects images of the hard and soft tissues inside the joint onto a monitor. This magnified view allows the surgeon to make a diagnosis with information not available from imaging tests like X-rays or MRIs.
Unlike traditional surgery, stitches are not needed to close the incisions with arthroscopy, because they are so small. Recovery is much faster, there is less damage to surrounding tissues, and surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Minimally-invasive surgeries like arthroscopy save pain, recovery time, and money, over traditional surgery.
Minimally-invasive joint replacement
Arthroplasty, or joint replacement surgery, has helped millions of people who suffered pain and immobility from arthritis or an injury. For traditional joint replacement, the surgeon removes the damaged portion of the joint (like the hip, knee, or shoulder) and implants a prosthesis over the bones of the joint that will allow for smooth, pain-free movement.
Minimally-invasive hip replacement is an option for some patients. The surgeon utilizes the same implants to replace the damaged joint, but accesses the hip through small incisions rather than a large one. The surgical technique differs due to the reduced visibility of the actual joint, but orthopedic surgeons experienced with minimally-invasive hip replacement help people with severe hip pain recover more quickly with less pain and scarring.
Minimally-invasive knee replacement also utilizes small incisions to access the knee. Just like with minimally-invasive hip replacement, not every patient is a good candidate. Your surgeon will discuss the options with you following an exam and review of your health history.
At Tarpon Orthopedics in Plano, Texas, our orthopedic surgeons are committed to helping people with orthopedic concerns. They are experienced in minimally-invasive surgeries like arthroscopy and joint replacement. If you are in Texas, call Tarpon Orthopedics at (972) 596-1059 for a consultation today in our West Plano, North Plano, or Addison, Texas locations.