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Advances in Hand and Wrist Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is an advanced procedure that allows your doctor to look at the inside your joint using a tube-like fiberoptic telescope (arthroscope) which is inserted through a small incision about the size of a keyhole. Viewing the inside of the joint under magnification and illumination provided by the arthroscope improves the doctor’s ability to diagnose any abnormality that could possibly be overlooked when using other diagnostic procedures. Specialized slim instruments can also be inserted through the arthroscope to remove loose bodies or dead tissue as well as repair any torn ligaments or cartilage within the joint.

Hand and wrist arthroscopy has evolved from the successful use of arthroscopy in diagnosing and treating pathology in larger joints. The advances of wrist arthroscopic techniques and instrumentation allow for the wrist joint to be viewed from almost any angle and have resulted in increased use of the procedure for a broad range of hand and wrist conditions. In the last 5 years, wrist arthroscopy has become the 3rd most common arthroscopic procedure after knee and shoulder arthroscopy.

The wrist is a very complex joint with multiple small bones, ligaments, and a fibrocartilage complex located within a very small area. Because surgical incisions made during the procedure are very small and there is less disruption of the intricate structures of the hand and wrist, recovery from the procedure is often very fast with minimal pain, swelling, and stiffness compared to open surgery.

Diagnostically, hand and wrist arthroscopy can be used to:

  • Assess ligament tears; determining whether these tears are partial or complete
  • Identify chondral defects in the carpal and midcarpal space
  • Evaluate cases of chronic wrist pain for which the cause has not been determined

Possible treatments using hand and wrist arthroscopy:

  • Realignment of hand and wrist fractures
  • Wrist lavage
  • Synovectomy (removal of inflamed membrane surrounding the joint)
  • Ganglionectomy (removal of a fluid-filled cyst that may inhibit mobility)
  • Distal ulnar shortening (to reduce wrist pain)
  • Detection and removal of loose bodies and scar tissue
  • Debridement of degenerative arthritis
  • Management of septic arthritis
  • Stabilization of ligaments

If you are experiencing wrist pain, swelling, or a clicking sound in your wrist, and X-rays or other imaging studies have not been able to identify the source of your problem, you may be a candidate for hand and wrist arthroscopy.

The NewportCare Medical Group is an outcome driven practice that offers personalized, high quality care to each patient. For all appointments and inquiries, please call (949) 491-9991.

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