Is Arthroscopic Surgery Painful?

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive orthopedic procedure that can be used to diagnose or treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. It requires smaller incisions and less healthy tissue disturbance than traditional “open” orthopedic surgery, usually resulting in a more streamlined and faster recovery period with less pain and risk of infection.

Nevertheless, arthroscopic surgery is still surgery. There is always a chance for some discomfort following an arthroscopy or any other type of medical procedure. Typically, patients experience mild to moderate pain for a few days following surgery, which can be alleviated with over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers. Most surgeons prescribe medication to help relieve discomfort in the days following surgery or suggest crutches or a sling for additional support during the recovery process. In many cases, patients are able to return to work or school in just a few days after arthroscopic surgery, although it can take several weeks for the joint to fully recover.

What Happens During Arthroscopic Surgery?

Arthroscopic surgery involves the use of an arthroscope—a very thin, pencil-like surgical instrument with a tiny camera attached to the end. A surgeon can insert an arthroscope into a joint through a small incision that disrupts only a small amount of tissue. The camera on the end of the arthroscope provides the surgeon with a detailed view of the joint, allowing him or her to confirm a diagnosis or use other special instruments to address a medical issue. Following surgery, the patient has a few small, puncture-like incisions that can be covered with adhesive bandages during the healing process.

When is Arthroscopic Surgery Appropriate?

Many joint conditions can be treated arthroscopically, although this procedure is most often performed to address issues in the wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle. For example, arthroscopic surgery may be used to:

  • Repair a torn rotator cuff
  • Remove loose pieces of bone or cartilage
  • Release a pinched carpal tunnel in the wrist
  • Repair torn ligaments or cartilage
  • Remove an inflamed joint lining (synovium)

Our Approach to Arthroscopic Surgery

Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group is home to Dr. Daniel Murphy, a board-certified orthopedic sports medicine surgeon who also serves on the medical staffs of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Yankees. Dr. Murphy excels in arthroscopic surgery and other minimally invasive orthopedic procedures that help patients get back on the move efficiently and safely.

If joint pain or stiffness is taking away from your quality of life, we encourage you to contact Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group to schedule an appointment and learn more about your treatment options. Dr. Murphy will carefully evaluate your condition, take note of your symptoms, and determine if arthroscopic surgery is right for you. Our team also offers progressive conservative therapies, such as viscosupplementation, stem cell therapy, PRP injections, and more. Contact our Tampa orthopedic clinic today—we’re here to answer any questions you may have.