If you are preparing to undergo arthroscopic surgery, you are probably curious about the recovery process and how long it will take. First and foremost, you should always follow your physician’s guidance regarding how long you should rest following surgery and what activities you should avoid. In general though, many arthroscopic surgeries require a six to eight week recovery period, although some patients are able to return to a normal lifestyle much sooner. (Comparatively, open joint surgeries often have a recovery period of six months or more.) Your specific recovery period will vary according to what joint is being operated on and why, as well as your lifestyle, age, and overall health.
What Does Arthroscopic Surgery and Recovery Involve?
Arthroscopic surgery, also referred to as an arthroscopy, is a minimally invasive joint procedure that is performed using an arthroscope – a thin, pencil-like instrument with a tiny camera on the end – along with other specially designed tools. The arthroscope is inserted through a very small incision to provide live images of the inside of the joint to a screen in the operating room. This allows the surgeon to get a detailed view of the joint space without making a large incision that would likely require a longer recovery period.
Arthroscopic surgery may be performed for a variety of reasons. For example, it can be used as a diagnostic method for patients whose joint conditions are not easily identified through imaging techniques. Arthroscopic surgery is also often performed to remove loose tissues or bone fragments, repair or reconstruct torn ligaments, or trim loose cartilage.
Because arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that involves little or no blood loss, it is usually performed on an outpatient basis. This means you’ll be able to return home the same day as your surgery (although you should have someone drive you). A local or general anesthetic may be used during surgery, and joint incisions are bandaged afterward. Be sure to carefully follow your doctor’s advice regarding removing your bandage and how to keep the incision site clean and dry.
In the days following your surgery, it’s important to rest as much as possible and avoid strenuous activities. Patients are usually asked to the keep the affected joint elevated and use an ice pack to reduce any swelling. Once your incisions have begun to heal, your physician may recommend physical therapy to help restore joint strength and flexibility.
Our Approach to Arthroscopic Surgery
Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group is led by Dr. Daniel Murphy – a board-certified orthopedic sports medicine surgeon who specializes in performing arthroscopic knee and shoulder surgeries. Utilizing advanced techniques, Dr. Murphy helps patients improve their joint health with as little downtime and discomfort as possible. If you would like to learn if you are a candidate for arthroscopic surgery, we encourage you to contact our practice today. Our office is conveniently located in South Tampa and accepts most major health insurance plans.