When your doctor has recommended that you have surgery on one of your joints, it’s a good idea for you to know and understand what your choices are. With sports-related injuries, there are typically two approaches: arthroscopic surgery and traditional open surgery.
Each of these types has its advantages and disadvantages. Getting to know what each method entails can let you better prepare for your surgery. Let’s take a look:
This procedure gets its name from the use of a tiny camera called an arthroscope. The surgeon makes a small incision near the area of the injury to insert the arthroscope, and from there the physician can determine what must be repaired.
The arthroscope will produce real-time images of the joint onto a video monitor right next to the surgeon. If the surgeon sees an issue that needs to be repaired, they can then make a second incision and perform the minimally invasive operation right away – without ever fully exposing your joint.
The benefits of this type of surgical approach include the following:
Less Blood Loss
Because the incisions are smaller, the patient will bleed less during surgery. With less blood loss, there is less of a need for a blood transfusion during the operation.
Smaller incisions translate to smaller scars after healing from an arthroscopic procedure. You’ll have minor scars that will heal more quickly. Open surgery would leave larger marks that take longer to disappear or become less noticeable.
Since this procedure is less invasive than traditional open surgery, it will not take you as long to recover. This also usually enables this type of surgery to be performed on an outpatient basis: You likely will not have to stay overnight at the hospital after your surgery. Those who have traditional open surgery will probably have to stay overnight.
Because arthroscopy involves only a minimal amount of cutting of areas of the body, there is less to recover from. Naturally, larger wounds anywhere in the body will take longer to heal.
Less Risk of Infection
Because the doctor will not be fully opening up your knee, for instance, you will be less likely to develop an infection from exposure during the operation or during recovery. Any kind of minimally invasive surgery, such as arthroscopy, allows less chance of germs and bacteria from entering the patient’s system during the operation.
Traditional Open Surgery
Open surgery requires at least one large incision that the doctor will then open up for performing surgical repairs inside the patient’s joint. This procedure is how surgeons have performed all operations until recent years.
The two major benefits of open surgery are the following:
More Room for the Surgeon
With open surgery, the surgeon may be less likely to make errors. Because the area that they have to operate on will be open in front of them, they can see exactly what they’re doing.
Arthroscopic and minimally invasive surgery cannot solve every type of injury. When there is too much damage to the joint, such as from severe arthritis, doctors may prefer to perform open surgery. This is also preferred if the organs and tissues in question are large, and large prosthetic materials must be inserted into the joint.
Orthopedic Surgeons in New Jersey
If you are suffering from joint pain due to arthritis or injury, have a skilled orthopedic doctor evaluate your condition. Our team at Orthopedic Associates of West Jersey will help you make the right choice between arthroscopy or traditional open surgery, or whether another type of treatment would work best for you.
You can reach us at (973) 989-0888 or via our website to schedule an appointment online. Our physicians would be happy to provide you with all the information you need and the proper treatment to help you get back to your active lifestyle again!