How It Is Done continued...
general or regional anesthesia is used, an
anesthesia specialist will administer the medicine.
A general anesthetic will make you unconscious during the procedure. Your heart
rate and rhythm, blood pressure, and respirations will be monitored during the
procedure. If a
local anesthetic is used, it will be injected into the
skin and joint space. If a local or regional anesthetic is used, your limb will
be numb and you will be relaxed and drowsy but will remain conscious.
You usually lie on your back. Depending on which joint is being looked
at, an inflatable band (tourniquet) may be used to temporarily restrict blood
flow to your joint so your doctor can see all the structures in your joint.
Your joint is scrubbed with an antiseptic solution and draped with sterile
towels. Before the tourniquet is inflated, the joint will be elevated and may
be wrapped with an elastic bandage to reduce blood flow to the joint.
A small incision about
0.25 in. (0.6 cm) will be made
near your joint. Before inserting the arthroscope, an irrigation solution
(usually saline) will be used to flush the joint space to provide a better view
of the entire joint. A steady low flow of solution is usually used during the
procedure to clear out any debris or blood in the joint so your doctor can
evaluate your joint.
Once the arthroscope is inserted, your doctor
will be able to see inside the joint by viewing a video monitor attached to the
arthroscope. Your doctor or the surgical assistants may bend, extend, and
reposition the joint to see it from different angles. Videotapes or photographs
of the joint may also be taken.
If additional surgery is required
to repair your joint problem, more small incisions will be made and other thin
instruments will be inserted into your joint. When the arthroscope and any
other instruments are taken out, any blood and debris will be flushed with
saline and drained. To reduce inflammation or pain, local anesthetics or
corticosteroids may be injected into your joint.