What are the Benefits with Arthroscopy?
Spinal arthroscopy is surgery of the spine where the joints does not have to be fully opened with an instrument called an arthroscope. The obvious advantage of arthroscopy over traditional open surgery is that the joint does not have to be fully opened. This reduces the recovery time and increases the rate of surgical success since the connective tissue isn’t affected as much.
What are the Possible Complications?
Although uncommon, complications sometimes do occur. The most common complications are infections, damage to blood vessels or nerves, excessive swelling and phlebitis (blood clots of a vein). These occurrences only happen to far less than 1 percent of all patients performing this procedure.
How is the Procedure Performed?
The procedure is carried out with a small tube-like instrument called an arthroscope inserted through a small incision containing a small lense with a lighting system to magnify and illuminate the inside of the joint. Attached on the arthroscope is a miniature video camera, which records the inside of the joint. The surgeons can view the joint area on a television screen, which allows the surgeon to get a larger image and understanding of the problem. Arthroscopic surgery requires local, general or spinal anaesthesia, depending on the joint or suspected problem. The amount of surgery required and the total recover time depends on the complexity of the problem.
The Recovery after Surgery
The dressing around the operative area can usually be removed the day after surgery and exchanged for adhesive strips to cover the healing incisions. Although the wounds are very small and the pain is usually minimal after surgery, it is important to remember that it takes several weeks until the joint is wholly recovered. Most patients go back to their daily activities within a few days or a week following surgery, but a rehabilitation program is usually suggested to make sure that the recovery period goes smooth.
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