Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows doctors to examine tissues inside the knee. It is often performed to confirm a diagnosis made after a physical examination and other imaging tests such as an MRI, a CT scan or X-rays.
During knee arthroscopy, a thin fiberoptic light, magnifying lens and tiny television camera are inserted into the knee, allowing your doctor to examine the joint in great detail.
For some patients, it is then possible to treat the problem using a few additional instruments inserted through small incisions around the joint. Sports injuries are often repairable with arthroscopy. Knee injuries that are frequently treated using arthroscopic techniques include meniscal tears, mild arthritis, loose bone or cartilage, ACL and PCL tears, synovitis (swelling of the joint lining) and patellar (knee cap) misalignment.
Because it is minimally invasive, knee arthroscopy offers many benefits to the patient over traditional surgery. These include:
Knee arthroscopy is not appropriate for every patient. Your doctor will discuss which options are best for you.
Arthritis and certain knee injuries and diseases can damage the cartilage that normally cushions the knee joint, leading to pain and stiffness. A knee replacement may be recommended when more conservative treatments -- such as anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections -- fail to relieve pain or improve movement.
During a total knee replacement, the entire joint is replaced with an artificial prosthesis. The surgery itself lasts between one-and-a-half and three hours. After the procedure, patients usually experience immediate relief from joint pain. Physical therapy starts right away to speed healing and to ensure that the patient enjoys full use of the joint. Knee replacements today last about 20 years in 85-90% of patients.
Osteoarthritis, also known as wear-and-tear or degenerative arthritis, is the most common form of the disease, affecting millions of people in the US each year. This condition is most common in older patients whose cartilage has worn down over time, and in athletes who have worn down their cartilage from overuse and repetitive motions.
Patients with osteoarthritis may experience pain, swelling and stiffness within the joint, which tend to worsen as the condition progresses. Your doctor can diagnose this condition after evaluating your symptoms and performing an X-ray examination of the knee. Several other factors should be taken into consideration when diagnosing osteoarthritis, including evaluation of the patient's spine, nearby joints, posture and gait.
Treatment for osteoarthritis initially focuses on relieving pain and other symptoms, and may include rest, physical therapy, bracing and anti-inflammatory medication. More severe cases of osteoarthritis may require surgery to reposition the bones or replace the joint. Most procedures can be performed through arthroscopy, which significantly reduces bleeding, scarring and recovery times.
The term "osteoporosis" comes from the Greek words for "bone" and "porous." It is a disease characterized by increasing bone loss which can lead to fractures, height loss and a hump-backed appearance. One in two women, and one in five men, over the age of 65 will suffer at least one bone fracture due to osteoporosis.
The most serious risk for people with osteoporosis is hip fracture following a fall. But osteoporotic bones are so weak that it doesn't always require a fall to cause injury - even everyday activities can result in a fracture. Spinal compression fractures, for example, are the most common osteoporosis-related injury and can be triggered simply by bending over.
Osteoporosis is not curable, but it is preventable. You can maintain your bones' health at any age by eating a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, exercising, not smoking, and limiting alcohol. Regular bone density testing can detect osteoporosis early, before you suffer a fracture.
A labrum is a protective cuff of cartilage found in ball and socket joints like the hip and shoulder. They provide more stability, cushioning and a full range of motion for these shallow joints. A tear in the labrum, known as a labral tear, is caused by injury or overuse and can lead to pain and "catching" of the joint while moving.
While many labral tears can be treated by managing pain symptoms and undergoing physical therapy, some cases require surgical treatment. Labral repair surgery aims to repair unstable shoulders with staples, anchors or sutures. The procedure is usually performed through arthroscopy, which allows the doctor to view the tear through a small camera and perform the procedure through tiny incisions. Larger tears may require an open procedure.