Our upper extremities include our entire arms, all the way from the shoulder to the fingers. A severe injury or pain in any of these muscles, bones, or joints may require surgery to repair, whether it was due to an acute injury or an overuse-type injury.
There are many surgical procedures that are done on the shoulders, arms, and hands, and many of these procedures can now be performed via arthroscopic surgery. Arthroscopy is preferred over traditional open surgery because it is a minimally invasive operation, therefore being much easier on the body both during surgery and during recovery.
An arthroscope is a thin tube – an endoscope – with a tiny fiber-optic video camera at the end. This enables the surgeon to see inside the body without making large incisions in the skin.
Arthroscopy is where surgeons make several small incisions. The main one is where the doctor will insert the arthroscope in order to view images of the organs and tissues on a computer monitor. The physician can use arthroscopy to view and diagnose the issue, or the physician can go ahead and make any necessary repairs. It is always preferable to have surgery that requires smaller incisions, as it reduces healing time as compared to surgery involving larger incisions.
Let’s talk about the various types of arthroscopic surgery that is performed on the upper extremities:
Some of the most common types of arthroscopic shoulder surgery are done to repair the rotator cuff and to repair the joint capsule, including the labrum.
The rotator cuff encompasses muscles and tendons in the shoulder that keep the top of the upper arm bone within the shoulder socket. The bones, ligaments and tendons that keep it all together for movement are together called the shoulder joint capsule.
The labrum is the ring of fibrous tissue that helps stabilize the joint by creating a lining in the shoulder socket. Labrum tears are painful and are typically repaired via arthroscopic surgery to the shoulder.
Arthroscopic elbow surgery allows the surgeon to peer directly into the elbow joint for diagnosis and repair. The physician can then remove any scar tissue, repair fractures, remove bone spurs, or address torn ligaments.
By using an arthroscope, the surgeon can repair and reattach the tendon that is affected by tennis elbow, for example. The doctor can also repair damage caused by pitcher’s elbow and golfer’s elbow. Of course, severe arthritis of the elbow can also be repaired arthroscopically.
Hand and Wrist Surgery
One of the most common ways in which arthroscopy is used in hand and wrist surgery is to repair a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome. In this case, the orthopedic surgeon can employ arthroscopic surgery to relieve pressure on the median nerve.
The surgeon opens up and “releases” the transverse carpal ligament to make more room for the nerve. The arthroscopic procedure causes less damage to the tissues of the palm of the hand as compared to traditional open surgery.
Orthopedic Surgeons in Maryland
If you have chronic or severe pain in your shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, or hand, see the specialists at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder. We will evaluate your condition and determine the most effective treatment that requires the shortest recovery time.
Contact our friendly staff today by calling us at (410) 296-6232 or request an appointment online via our easy-to-use form, and let us help you get back to living an active, more pain-free lifestyle once again.