Frequently after an injury, pain, clicks, and swelling may be indicative of an internal problem in the wrist. Arthroscopy is often the best way of assessing the integrity of the ligaments, cartilage, and bone. When wrist problems are encountered, many are treated through these small incisions using specialized designed equipment.
Often arthroscopy is used to aid in the reduction of fractures of the bones of the wrist:
The ability to see the joint surface allows for a much more accurate anatomical bone/joint reconstruction than using X-Ray alone which is not as accurate identifying joint surface step-offs or gaps.
Wrist arthroscopy is also used to assess the integrity of the TFCC (triangular fibrocartilage):
A very common cause of wrist pain, the tear or degeneration of this ligament can currently be diagnosed and treated with pure arthroscopic techniques, even when MRI can’t “see” the problem.
Wrist arthroscopy is also used to assess the integrity of the Carpal Ligaments:
A very common cause of wrist pain, the tear or degeneration of these ligaments can lead to different types of “instability” conditions that can cause wrist pain with different degrees of associated disability. Overtime, these injuries can lead to early arthritis.
Currently wrist arthroscopy is considered the Gold standard for diagnosis of these conditions, as arthroscopy can see the problem even when MRI can’t.
Wrist arthroscopy can even be used to remove some Ganglions of the wrist joint:
When they originate from the joint, arthroscopy allows to perform successful Ganglionectomy “from the inside” of the joint, avoiding surgical dissection of tendon, nerves and blood vessels from the wrist.
Wrist arthroscopy is also used to assess the extent, distribution and severity of arthritis conditions and based on this accurate assessment formulate treatment plans:
Starting with accurate diagnosis of where in the wrist joint, is the main source of pain. Arthroscopy also allows for specific “targeting” of the problem site, and performance of different techniques aimed to remedy such condition. Sometimes this can delay or prevent the need of total wrist fusions often needed to treat pain from arthritis of the wrist.
Sometimes wrist arthroscopy is combined with open procedures to increase accuracy and or perform a less invasive Scope assisted open procedures.
The post-operative recovery period will vary depending on what condition is being treated and the performed procedure.
However classically, because the incisions used are much smaller and disrupt less soft tissue than conventional open surgery, pain, swelling and stiffness are minimized and recovery is often faster.
Wrist Arthroscopic Standardized technique methods were developed in 1985. However, only in resent year, it has become a popular procedure. Its potential is only starting to be reviled and new treatment applications continue to expand with great promise.
Wrist arthroscopy is not appropriate for all patients or wrist conditions and is dependent on the surgeon’s training, expertise and comfort level.