A Brief History and the Present Benefits of Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
One of the most common orthopedic treatments used today is arthroscopy surgeries, particularly those performed on the knee joint. This procedure was one of the greatest advances of orthopedic medicine in the 20th century. Part of its popularity is the fact that it is a minimally invasive treatment—compared to other orthopedic procedures like joint replacement—and is highly effective.
How We Got to Arthroscopic Surgery
The history of arthroscopy begins with the innate human desire to explore and view the insides of the human body. The word “arthro” means “joint” and “scope” derives from the Greek word that means “to view.” So arthroscopic procedures involve tiny incisions that allow the introduction of an arthroscope to view the inside of the joint.
The origins of the procedure derive all the way back to the 19th century. Scientific interest to examine the human body from the inside and understand its inner workings was always a point of profound interest in medical research. It was in 1806 that a German doctor in Frankfurt presented the Lichtleiter, the first cystoscope, which used two tubes and a candle, and was developed to study the inside of the bladder.
Soon, the concept was refined and improved upon using turpentine and gasoline, which when ignited produced light that was then reflected onto a system of mirrors that allowed for visualization. This came to be known as one of the first endoscopic instrumentation. Studies on human cadavers allowed for further research and in 1912, there was the first recorded application of an endoscope to look inside the knee joint.
It was around the 1970s, however, that the invention of fiber optics and miniature television cameras that allowed further research and advancements to the procedure to take off. These technologies allowed for more in-depth study, as well as precision and accuracy to be increased. Today the tools used are incredibly precise, as surgeons have the ability to clearly see the joint damage without making big incisions on the patient.
Why Get Arthroscopic Knee Surgery?
It begins with knee pain. Millions of Americans suffer from chronic pain and discomfort in their knee joint. In 2002, it was said that 10.5 million people reported battling severe joint pain. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, knee pain results in over 12 million doctor visits a year. The knee joint is the largest in the body, and experiencing pain in this joint can not only be severely distracting but alter a person’s way of life, preventing them from necessary activities. This often leads to altering life problems like loss of functionality, employment, depression, and so on. Treating the pain with prolonged drug use also has severe consequences.
You might benefit from arthroscopic knee surgery if you suffer from:
- Torn anterior or posterior cruciate ligaments
- A torn meniscus (cartilage between the bones in the knee)
- Injured patella
- Torn cartilage in the joint
- Fractured knee bones
Benefits of Arthroscopy
Prior to the advantage of small incisions with arthroscopic procedures and specialized instrumentation, any joint surgery required much bigger incisions and a much more invasive operation. With these more exposed procedures, the risk of complications, mistakes, and damage to the joint were more likely. In contrast, the quickness and accuracy of arthroscopy not only minimizes risks but improves immediate and long term recovery.
As these techniques have expanded and improved many people have seen the benefits of this procedure. At one time, a torn meniscus injury or torn cartilage would require a longer period of recovery and rehabilitation. After an arthroscopic procedure, a patient can expect to heal and recover quickly— especially with the use of effective physical therapy, nutrition, and exercise.
Today, athletes whose career would have ended after an injury of this kind can obtain an arthroscopic knee surgery and not only heal quicker but return to normal function and continue their career. For people who may not be professional athletes, the benefits are the same; they can return to work and their daily lives a lot sooner and with much better hopes of long term benefits than ever before.
Experiencing Knee Pain? Get It Checked Out!
If you suffer from chronic knee pain and discomfort, ignoring it or treating the pain with strong painkillers does not solve the problem. In fact, continuing to walk and put pressure on a knee that is injured or that has some kind of torn ligament or cartilage, can make the problem worse and even cause other problems as your body tries to overcompensate. Sun City Orthopedic knows how important these joints are to living a healthy, full, and active life. We want to help you get better and return to normal asap. Simply put, we want you to live pain-free! Don’t wait. Get your knee checked out and see if arthroscopic knee surgery is an option for you.