Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure used to diagnose and treat problems inside a joint.
Arthroscopy utilizes a small fiber optic instrument called an arthroscope that enables the surgeon to see inside the joint without making large incisions into the muscle and tissue.
The wrist is a complex joint with eight small bones and many connecting ligaments. Arthroscopic surgery can be used to diagnose and treat a number of conditions of the wrist, including chronic wrist pain, wrist fractures, ganglion cysts, and ligament tears.
The surgeon makes small incisions (called portals) through the skin in specific locations around a joint.
These incisions are less than half an inch long. The arthroscope, which is approximately the size of a pencil, is inserted through these incisions. The arthroscope contains a small lens, a miniature camera, and a lighting system.
The three-dimensional images of the joint are projected through the camera onto a television monitor. The surgeon watches the monitor as he or she moves the instrument within the joint.
Probes, forceps, knives, and shavers at the ends of the arthroscope are used to correct problems uncovered by the surgeon.