Wrist arthroscopy is a surgical procedure in which a small camera (called an arthroscope) is inserted into the wrist joint through a small incision. The camera allows the surgeon to see inside the joint and helps diagnose the problem, such as damage to the cartilage, ligaments, or bones. The surgeon can also perform repairs or other procedures through additional small incisions using specialized instruments.
Wrist arthroscopy is typically done to diagnose and treat conditions such as wrist fractures, ligament injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and osteoarthritis. It is a minimally invasive procedure that may result in less pain, scarring, and recovery time compared to traditional open surgery. However, as with any surgery, there are risks and potential complications involved, such as infection, bleeding, and nerve or tissue damage.
If you are considering wrist arthroscopy, it is necessary to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your surgeon and ask any questions you may have about the procedure.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: a condition that occurs when the median nerve, which runs through the wrist, becomes compressed or squeezed
- Tendinitis: inflammation of the tendons in the wrist
- Ganglion cysts: fluid-filled sacs that develop on the wrist or hand
- Osteoarthritis: a degenerative joint condition that causes the cartilage in the joint to wear away
- Fractures: breaks in the bones of the wrist
- Ligament Injuries
Wrist arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure which allows the surgeon to diagnose and treat these conditions without making a large incision. It is usually performed on an outpatient basis, meaning the patient is able to go home the same day as the surgery.
The wrist arthroscopy procedure is typically performed under regional/general anaesthesia.
The surgeon will then make a small keyhole incision, in the skin over the wrist joint. Through this incision, the surgeon will insert the arthroscope, which is a small camera that allows the surgeon to see the inside of the joint on a monitor.
The surgeon will then make additional small incisions around the wrist as needed to insert other surgical instruments, such as forceps or scissors, to diagnose and treat any problems within the joint. The surgeon will use the arthroscope to guide the instruments and view the procedure on the monitor.
Once the surgery is complete, the instruments and arthroscope will be removed and the incisions will be closed with stitches. A dressing or bandage will be applied to the wound to protect it and help it heal.
The entire procedure typically takes between 30 minutes and 2 hours, depending on the complexity of the case and the number of incisions needed. After the surgery, the patient will be taken to a recovery room to be monitored until the effects of the anaesthesia have worn off. The patient can usually go home the same day or next day of the surgery, but may need to come back for follow-up visits to check on the healing process.
Wrist arthroscopy is generally a safe and effective procedure, but like any surgery, it also carries some risks. Some potential risks associated with wrist arthroscopy include:
- Infection: There is a risk of infection at the incision site or within the joint. This risk can be limited by following the surgeon's instructions for wound care and taking any prescribed antibiotics as directed.
- Bleeding: There is a risk of bleeding during the surgery or after the surgery is same as any other procedures. The surgeon will take steps to minimize this risk, such as using special instruments to minimize bleeding during the surgery.
- Nerve damage: There is a risk of nerve damage during the surgery, although this risk is minimal. The surgeon will take steps to minimize this risk, such as using nerve-monitoring techniques during the surgery.
- Reactions to anaesthesia: There is a risk of allergic reactions or other complications from the anaesthesia used during the surgery. This risk can be minimized by informing all allergies and medical conditions to the surgeon and anaesthesiologist before the surgery to take necessary precautions.
- Stiffness: There is a risk of stiffness in the wrist joint after the surgery. This risk can be minimized by following the surgeon's instructions for regular physical therapy and rehabilitation after the surgery.
It is important to discuss the risks of wrist arthroscopy with a surgeon before the procedure and to carefully follow the surgeon's instructions for care after the surgery to minimize the risk of complications.