About a quarter of Americans suffer from joint pain, and if you’re one of them, you’re probably really eager to find a solution. For many patients, arthroscopy is just what they need to diagnose and treat joint pain without the need for more invasive open surgical procedures.
As a top-rated orthopedic specialist in McKinney, Texas, Dominique Nickson, MD, uses minimally invasive arthroscopy to treat joint pain in patients at Next Step Orthopedics. Here’s how arthroscopy works and how it could benefit you.
Arthroscopy: One approach with lots of benefits
Arthroscopy uses a special instrument called an arthroscope to “see inside” your joint. The scope is equipped with a tiny camera that transmits real-time images of the joint back to a monitor, providing Dr. Nickson with a clear, magnified view.
Thanks to the slim design of the scope, arthroscopy can use tiny incisions — much smaller than the incisions used in traditional “open” joint procedures. Those small incisions are responsible for many of the benefits associated with arthroscopic procedures, including the four listed below.
Less bleeding and tissue damage
Open surgery uses large incisions, frequently cutting through muscle or other tissue. The smaller incision and special instruments minimize tissue damage and bleeding, supporting faster healing and recovery and reducing postoperative swelling and discomfort.
Those small incisions also mean you’ll have a few tiny scars instead of one large one. While scars are a normal part of tissue healing, large scars mean more stiff scar tissue, which could interfere with healing and movement.
More accurate diagnoses
While traditional surgery has always depended on X-rays and other “external” evaluations, arthroscopy allows Dr. Nickson to see your joint “from the inside out.” Through the tiny camera, Dr. Nickson looks at joint surfaces and other parts of the joint and surrounding tissue to determine the exact cause of joint symptoms. When possible, he performs small repairs during the diagnostic exam, avoiding another procedure.
Reduced risk of infection
About half a million surgical site infections happen every year in the United States. Considering there are millions of surgeries, infections aren’t common — but they can happen.
Many infections happen at the incision site when germs invade the wound. Not surprisingly, smaller incisions mean the risk of infection is a lot smaller, too.
Conditions treated with arthroscopy
Dr. Nickson uses arthroscopy to diagnose and treat:
- Torn ligaments
- Cartilage damage, including arthritis damage
- Bone spurs
- Infections and inflammation
- Loose bone fragments
Despite the advantages of arthroscopic surgery, there are some times when traditional surgery is a better choice. Dr. Nickson determines the best approach during the preoperative examination.
If you have joint pain, Dr. Nickson can help. To learn more about arthroscopy and other treatment options he offers at his practice in McKinney, Texas, call us at (972) 547-0047 or book an appointment online today.