Arthroscopic Surgery – A Technological Boon Extending Athletic Careers!

Sports & Athletics are quite possible the most physically demanding professions barring the armed forces. Athletes’ bodies are subjected to immense & repetitive physical strains which eventually leads to breakdown of muscles, ligaments, tendons & bones. Therefore, the process of rest & recovery is as essential as training with respect to longevity of sports careers.

Throughout this process, injuries are a constant companion. From minor strains to major tears, every athlete, amateur or professional has felt the pain of being sidelined. A few decades ago, major injures like the tear of a knee ligament, a major dislocation or fracture to a shoulder or elbow spelled disaster as medicine was not advanced enough to allow them to return at full strength or in most cases recover at all to ever play the sport they loved.

With a ton of technological innovations occurring in the 21st century, healthcare has advanced by leaps and bounds! 99% of injuries are only viewed as minor road bumps with modern surgical procedures combined with state-of-the-art training facilities allowing athletes to recover and return as though not a day had passed since they left.

It’s a well-known fact that our joints, with relatively lesser tissue or fat to protect them from daily rigors, are possibly the most susceptible to injury. Athletic tenures usually result in injuries to major joints like the knee, shoulder, or elbow amongst others. Hence, it’s quite understandable that orthopedic doctors and surgeons are a key part of any medical team dealing with sports-related damage.

At the forefront of the most preferred orthopedic procedures, lies ‘Arthroscopic Surgery’.
Also known as the ‘keyhole surgery’ it is the most utilized alternative to open surgery for sports injuries in today’s day and age. Derived from 2 Greek words, “arthro” (joint) and “skopein” (to look), the term quite simply translates to ‘look within the joint’.
Being a minimally invasive surgical procedure, arthroscopy was earlier used as a diagnostic tool to prep for larger operations.

Traditional surgery requires larger cuts & incisions leading to a considerable amount of blood loss, longer anesthesia & sizeable number stitches to suture wounds. Recovery can take months or years & for athletes returning to field of play as soon as possible is a priority.
Keeping these aspects of traditional open surgery, the needs of professional athletes & the availability of vastly better surgical instrumentation, arthroscopic surgery has risen in popularity across the planet.

What the procedure looks like ?

The surgeon will usually make 2-3 tiny incisions around the joint/area to be repaired. Following this, a pencil-sized instrument called an arthroscope is inserted through one of the openings. This contains a fiber-optic camera & lens system allowing for illumination & visuals within the body. The second & third (if required) portals are used to insert similarly sized surgical instruments which facilitate repair & treatment of the tissue, joint, ligament, cartilage, tendon or bone.

Using arthroscopy, surgeons can treat a wide variety of joints & injuries such as:

  • KNEE: ACL & PCL reconstruction, MCL repair, Patella fractures
  • SHOULDER: Dislocations, rotator cuff tears
  • ELBOW: Fractures, tennis elbow (inflammation of tendons)
  • WRIST: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Miscellaneous: Bursitis, removal of loose bone or cartilage fragments

Due to the availability of such minimally invasive procedures, thousands of athletes can undergo surgeries that were once considered career-ending and yet return within the span of weeks or months with minimal to no loss of performance!

Few of the benefits of Arthroscopic Surgery are:

  • Local anaesthesia instead of general anaesthetic hence reducing the risk of complications.
  • Smaller incisions leading to lesser scar tissue and stitches.
  • Relatively short recovery time allowing athletes to return to the field quickly.
  • Less painful side effects post-op.
  • Surgery can be performed as an out-patient procedure, reducing & even eliminating the need for hospitalization.

With novel techniques emerging, the spectrum of minimally invasive surgeries is set to widen as arthroscopic surgeries remain a therapeutic mainstay for athletes around the world!

The 2nd ANNUAL MARKETSANDMARKETS MINIMALLY INVASSIVE SURGERY CONFERENCE shall convene the leading experts, researchers, scientists, surgeons & academics to explore the entire range of opportunities within the field.
Join us on the 14th & 15th of September 2022 at London, UK for an insightful & enriching couple of days – REGISTER TODAY!

Ayush Kanitkar

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