An arthroscope is simply a tool for viewing inside a joint. It consists of a fibreoptic channel for viewing, a light source to light up the inside if the joint and a channel to allow fluid to be pumped into the joint. It can be used to simply look around a joint to help make a diagnosis, or (more commonly) to enable arthroscopic surgery to be performed. During such procedures specialised long thin instruments are inserted into the joint via other portals and surgery is performed by viewing the instruments and the joint through the arthroscope.
Many joints are suitable for arthroscopic surgery, but none more so than the knee. The scope allows much better visualisation of most of the nooks and crannies within the knee than could be obtained even by opening the knee. However not all procedures can be performed in this manner. Common procedures include:
- diagnostic arthroscopy
- removing a torn meniscus (“cartilage”)
- repairing a torn meniscus
- debridement (a “tidy up”)
- removal of loose bodies
- drilling of defects
- cruciate ligament repairs (Mr Edge does not perform this procedure)
Various other procedures can be performed although less commonly.