Arthroscopy is a common procedure used to treat joints when injury or osteoarthritis is complicating movement and creating pain. The instrument used is the arthroscope. This is a thin-headed fiber-optic telescope which functions as a camera. The visual information is then relayed to a large monitor in the surgical theatre for doctors to work from. Doctors consult the image in real time to evaluate their movements during surgery and make valuable diagnostic observations.
Arthroscopy is a non-invasive form of surgery with usually Day Only hospital stays necessary. This is due to arthroscopy requiring only small incisions near the affected joint and minimal surgical disruption to the surrounding areas. The incisions made are an example of what have come to be known as the ‘keyholes’, of ‘keyhole surgery’. Arthroscopy is one of the most common forms of joint surgery, with 100,000 operations occurring annually throughout Australia.
The form of anaesthetic administered for arthroscopy is the ‘general anaesthetic’. Though due to the relatively short time these operations take, the affects of taking a ‘general anaesthetic’ rarely extend a patient’s hospital stay beyond a day. Regional anaesthetics are also used in combination with mild sedatives.