An arthroscope is a small flexible tube with a camera at the end that is inserted into a small incision in the shoulder or other joint. This allows the doctor to see inside the joint without creating a large incision that can further traumatize an existing injury. An arthroscope can identify labral tears and AC joint injuries that may require surgery to repair. If surgery is needed, the doctor can perform the procedure using the arthroscope as a guide and inserting any instrument that is needed through the existing incision. This type of procedure takes much less time and produces much less trauma than more extensive procedures that were used in the past.
An arthroscope can be used to perform many different types of surgeries. Most commonly the scope is used when performing minor procedures on joints, like the shoulders, hips, and knees. It is an ideal procedure for treating AC joint injuries and labral tears. It can be easily used to repair damage to torn muscles, cartilage, and tendons. An arthroscope allows a doctor to look inside the joint and view any existing damage without making the problems worse. Repairs are easily made and the incisions small, leaving less noticeable scars. The healing time is much shorter, primarily because there is much less trauma to the tissues during the procedure.
A procedure that employs the use of an arthroscope will heal much faster than a wound from a procedure in which the entire joint was surgically opened up. While there will still be damage to the interior of the joint, the ability to view and perform corrections inside the joint with the use of an arthroscope makes the procedure much less invasive. This will dramatically reduce the pain and discomfort the patient experiences after the procedure, as well as hastens the healing time. Less damage to the tissues also means less risk of scar tissue. The arthroscope and other instruments used in these procedures are smaller than conventional instruments allowing them to perform very intricate procedures.