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Orthopedic injuries are the top cause of injury-related medical visits in the United States. Every year, millions of men, women, and kids receive emergency care for injuries that affect their bones, joints, muscles, and other musculoskeletal components.

While some milder orthopedic injuries can be treated with conservative options like medication, rest, lifestyle modifications, and physical therapy, other injuries or diseases require surgery to relieve symptoms and restore normal function.

At Next Step Orthopedics, Dominique Nickson, MD, uses arthroscopic surgery for many orthopedic injuries that require surgery. Arthroscopic surgery uses special techniques associated with an array of benefits. If orthopedic surgery is in your future, here’s what you should know about this state-of-the-art technique.

The basics of arthroscopic surgery

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgery that uses tiny incisions — typically less than an inch in length — and special instruments designed to be used through small incisions.

One instrument — the arthroscope — contains a tiny camera that takes live images of the surgical site and transmits those images back to a video monitor. Dr. Nickson performs the surgery by watching the images on the monitor, manipulating the surgical instruments through a separate incision.

Arthroscopy is used to treat many types of orthopedic issues, including:

  • Cartilage damage from injury or diseases (like arthritis)
  • Infections and inflammation
  • Ligament and tendon damage
  • Scar tissue in the joint area
  • Loose bone fragments

In addition, Dr. Nickson uses arthroscopy to diagnose medical conditions to determine the best treatment approach.

Benefits of arthroscopic surgery

Arthroscopic surgery offers several important benefits for patients, including these four.

#1: Less tissue damage and bleeding

To expose the surgical site, traditional or “open” surgery uses larger incisions that cut through the skin and underlying tissues, like ligaments, tendons, and muscles. On the other hand, arthroscopy uses smaller incisions and special tissue-sparing techniques to minimize tissue damage. The tiny camera provides complete visualization of the area without the need to cut through tissues.

#2: Fewer complications

Every surgery carries some risk of infection, but with arthroscopy’s tiny incisions, that risk is substantially decreased. A smaller incision means there’s far less opportunity for germs to enter your incision site during healing, and the incision heals faster, as well. Plus, arthroscopy’s tissue-sparing approach reduces the risk of intraoperative issues, too.

#3: Faster recovery

Arthroscopic surgery is typically performed outpatient, which means you go home shortly after your surgery. The tiny incisions heal quickly, and less tissue damage allows you to get back to your routine more quickly., It also means you can begin physical therapy faster than you could with open surgery.

#4: Less postoperative discomfort

Less tissue damage means less swelling after surgery, and it also means less discomfort as you heal. While you’ll still have some tenderness and swelling, these effects are minimized compared to open surgery’s postoperative period. When you feel more comfortable, it’s also easier to stay “upbeat” about your treatment and your recovery.

The right surgery for your needs

While Dr. Nickson performs many surgeries using a minimally invasive arthroscopic approach, some issues require an open technique with a larger incision. During your evaluation, Dr. Nickson will determine which approach is better for your needs and explain why he selects that approach.

Dr. Nickson and the team at Next Step Orthopedics are committed to providing the most appropriate medical care based on each patient’s unique personal and medical factors. To learn more about arthroscopic surgery and whether it’s a good choice for you, call us at (972) 547-0047 or book an appointment online today.

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