About Arthroscopy

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What is Arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy (also called arthroscopic surgery) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure on a joint in which an examination and sometimes treatment of damage is performed using an arthroscope, an endoscope that is inserted into the joint through a small incision. It is technically possible to do an arthroscopic examination of almost every joint, most commonly the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, ankle, foot, and hip. Arthroscopic procedures can be used for:

  • Torn or damaged anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) These ligaments can be repaired (if bony avulsion) or replaced (reconstruction). Usually repair is a misnomer.
  • Torn Meniscus – Meniscus is very important cartilage structure  that cushions the space between the bones of the knee ( Femur & Tibia). Surgery is done to repair or remove it. Meniscus repair has a better outcome for long-term health of a knee.
  • Swollen (inflamed) or damaged lining of the joint. This lining is called the synovium. This can be due to Rheumatoid arthritis, Gout, and Tuberculosis or after an accident. This swelling can be very easily & precisely removed (synovectomy) with a scope. To do a biopsy in such diseases, knee joint is not opened.
  • Kneecap (Patella) that is out of position (misalignment). Treatment for Recurrent dislocation & subluxation of patella ( MPFL reconstruction) is possible with an arthroscope.
  • Small pieces of broken cartilage in the knee joint or bony pieces (Loose body) or a foreign body like pin, stone chip and needle can be removed with puncture holes.
  • Removal of Morant Baker’s Cyst-  a swelling behind the knee that is filled with fluid. Sometimes this occurs when there is swelling and pain (inflammation) from other causes like knee arthritis or a previous meniscus tear.
  • Recurrent dislocation of shoulder, rotator cuff injury ( shoulder muscle tear) and Stiff- frozen shoulder can be very well treated with this modality
  • In recent times almost all soft tissue injuries of Hip, Ankle, Elbow and wrist are being tackled by arthroscopic surgery

Why Arthroscopy?

The advantage of an arthroscopic surgery over traditional open surgery is that the joint does not have to be opened up fully. Surgery with 2-3 puncture holes, reduces recovery time and definitely increase the rate of success of surgery. There is also less scarring. Because of the smaller incisions, cosmesis is better. Arthroscopic surgery  is especially useful for professional athletes who frequently injure knee joints and require faster healing time.

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