Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to see, determine, and treatabnormalities in your joint. You may be recommended a small joint arthroscopy by your surgeon to confirm a diagnosis or treat the smalljoints in your fingers known as the metacarpophalangeal(MCP) joints and the bones and ligaments in your wristand elbow joints.
Some of the indications for small joint arthroscopy include pain, loose bodies, fractures,cysts, ligament tears, synovitis, lesions, arthritis, and inflammatory conditions of the small joints.
Once your hand and arm are numbed (regional anesthesia), a small incision is made on your skin over the joint and a narrow fiber-optic tube fitted with a small camera and lighting system is inserted through the incision directly into your joint. The camera lens allows your surgeon to magnify and project small structures in your joint onto a monitor. Your surgeon will then place special miniature surgical instruments, such as graspers, forceps, probes, currettes, and dissectorsinto your joint to help diagnose and treat your small joint abnormalities. On completion of the procedure, you will be either splinted or a protective bandage will be applied. The duration of protection will depend on your specific procedure. You will be instructed to keep your hand elevated in order to prevent excessive swelling and pain.
- Arthroscopy requires far smaller incisions compared to traditional surgery, and considerably decreases your risk of infection, blood loss, and scar tissue formation
- The use of small instruments results in very minimum damage to the surrounding skin and soft tissues, causing less discomfort and enabling a quicker recovery
- Most arthroscopic procedures are day case procedures and require no overnight stay in the hospital
Complications with small joint arthroscopy are rare and uncommon. Some of the potential risks during or after your procedure include injury to the nerves or tendons, infection, bleeding, scarring, and excessive swelling.