When is Wrist Arthroscopy Necessary?

Wrist pain has multiple possible causes, but establishing the exact cause can be difficult. Still, accurate diagnosis is crucial for proper treatment and healing. Your wrist may be sore due to sprains and fractures from sudden injuries or long-term problems like arthritis, repetitive stress, and carpal tunnel syndrome. If imaging tests like x-rays, CT, MRI, and ultrasound are inconclusive, your doctor may perform wrist arthroscopy Chula Vista to detect problems and repair any needed.

What is wrist arthroscopy?

Wrist arthroscopy is a less invasive surgical procedure whereby your doctor examines the internal structure of your joint to diagnose or treat problems. During wrist arthroscopy, the surgeon makes a small incision in your skin through which surgical tools and a tiny camera are passed. The narrow tube is fitted with a camera at the end, which magnifies and illuminates the joint structures with the lights transmitted through fiber optics. Your doctor can view inside your joint through a high-definition video monitor.

Arthroscopic joint examination is helpful to diagnose or treat the following conditions:

  • Synovitis of the inflammation of your joint linings. It may affect the lining of the wrist, knee, shoulder, elbow, or ankle.
  • Osteoarthritis; is a common form of arthritis caused by wear and tear if a joint’s cartilage
  • Acute or chronic injury. These may include tendon tears, cartilage tears, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Your doctor may also use arthroscopy to remove loose bodies of bone or cartilage logged within the joint.

Advantages of arthroscopy compared to traditional surgery

Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that uses smaller incisions, meaning patients are not left with a large scar. Because the incisions are small, there is minimal soft tissue trauma, less postoperative pain, and a lower infection rate. In most cases, patients can resume desk work and light activity in a few days. It may take one to three weeks before you can drive or engage in more strenuous activity. While downtime is generally shorter, not everyone’s recovery is the same. Some situations dictate a more extended recovery period and rehabilitation.

How safe is wrist arthroscopy?

Wrist arthroscopy is a relatively safe surgical procedure, and complications are uncommon. Some of the problems that may result from wrist arthroscopy include:

  • Infection. Although the incisions are small, the procedure is still invasive and carries a risk of infection.
  • Tissue or nerve damage. Some joint structures can get damaged as the surgeon places and moves the instruments within the joint.
  • Blood clots. It is rare for blood clots to form, but procedures that last longer than an hour increase the risk of blood clots forming in your legs or lungs.

What happens during wrist arthroscopy?

Before the procedure, you may receive local, regional, or general anesthesia; the type of anesthesia your surgeon uses varies by procedure. Once the medications take effect, the surgeon makes a small incision in your wrist to insert the arthroscope connected to a video monitor in the operating room. Your specialist inspects all the tissues, including ligaments, tendons, bones, and cartilage. If tissues need repair or removal, the surgeon makes other incisions to fix or remove the tissue.

If you have further questions about wrist arthroscopy, consult your Ortho 1 Medical Group specialist.

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