Ask Dr. Furmanek: What Is Arthroscopy?
Arthroscopic procedures have increased surgical accuracy with less invasive techniques that also improve the patient recuperation experience. Dr. Furmanek explains how arthroscopy works.
Surgical advances have made a significant contribution to the evolution of sports medicine over the last few decades. Summit surgeon and sports medicine physician Dr. Furmanek did a fellowship in sports medicine and arthroscopy, and he explains this minimally invasive technique. In his practice, arthroscopy has improved surgeries like knee cartilage repair and restoration, ligament reconstructions, and other common sports-related injuries. Dr. Furmanek also uses arthroscopic techniques to correct shoulder instability or dislocation injuries by repairing cartilage and tendon tears.
“Arthroscopy is one of our most commonly performed procedures,” says Dr. Furmanek. “It is less invasive than an open surgical procedure. We access the joint through a small quarter-inch incision called a portal and place a thin fiber-optic camera into the joint.”
These cameras are tiny. Today’s arthroscopes are small enough to guide surgical procedures in the small joints of hands and feet. “During the surgery,” Dr. Furmanek explains, “the operating physician inflates the joint with fluid; this allows easy visualization of the joint’s anatomy, pathology, and injury through a camera. The scope gives us a thorough view of the inside of the joint without having to make a large incision. During the procedure, we have the camera inserted in one portal and we use at least one additional portal, and sometimes more, to insert the instrumentation to perform the surgery.”
The time required for arthroscopic and open surgical procedures is roughly the same. However, postoperative recovery after an arthroscopic procedure is easier and less painful. “We are preserving the joint by not having to open it,” Dr. Furmanek points out, “so the healing process is less disturbed and can minimize the risk of infection.”
“With any surgery,” he concludes, “you are balancing what needs to be done with the expertise of the surgeon and the patient’s individual situation. All surgeries involve risk-benefit management. The benefits of arthroscopy make it an excellent option for many surgeries, and can provide appropriate patients with an easier, less painful recovery.”
Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive sports medicine expertise
From Olympians to pro athletes to kids in youth sports and those that just want to be more active—Summit Orthopedics delivers expert care by fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians. If you are recently injured or concerned about ongoing pain, Summit Orthopedics sports medicine specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely help you get back to being active.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
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