The past week showed that football is a violent sport on the joints of its players. Roland Williams, St. Louis Rams tight end, and Antrell Rolle, Arizona Cardinals first round cornerback, both suffered knee injuries that will require arthroscopic surgery. What is arthroscopoic surgery and how will it help these players?
Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgery that helps doctors look into a fix the joints of the body. Most commonly, arthroscopic surgery is used to fix torn ligaments in the knee.
Ligaments are muscles that help stabilize your knee. For instance, the medial collateral ligament prevents damage to your knee by blows from the side. The lateral collateral ligament protects your knee from an inside blow to the knee.
Here’s a diagram of the ligaments in your knee:
Arthroscopic surgery takes place without the need to cut open the knee. Three small holes are made around the knee, so that the doctor can place the instruments inside the knee. The three instruments used are:
- Viewing scope – This allows the doctor to see the inside of the knee and any damage that may have occurred.
- Irrigating instrument – This allows the doctor to flush out the affected area and clean any removed material from the area.
- Trimming instrument – This allows the doctor to shape and mold the inside of the knee. It also allows the doctor to reconnect torn ligaments.
Arthroscopic surgery is recommended for those people who have:
- torn meniscus where it will be repaired or removed.
- small pieces of broken cartilage
- torn or damaged anterior cruciate or posterior cruciate ligament
- inflamed or harmed joint lining (synovium)
- misalignment of the knee cap
Recovering from arthroscopic surgery depends on the severity of the injury. In most cases crutches will be needed and pain can be managed with prescription pain relievers.