Arthroscopy – also known as keyhole surgery – is one of the most frequently performed orthopaedic procedures in the UK. It involves inserting a thin fibre optic scope – an arthroscope – through a small incision, in order to see inside your joint. We can then diagnose, and in most cases repair, any damage – without the need for more invasive surgery.
A wide range of conditions can be diagnosed and treated effectively using arthroscopy, including early arthritis, sports injuries and soft tissue injuries. In most cases it is used to investigate symptoms such as pain, inflammation, restricted movement and instability.
Mr Nirav Shah specialises in hip and knee arthroscopy. Hip arthroscopy in particular is a highly skilled procedure that’s provided by a small number of orthopaedic surgeons in the UK. Mr Shah is the only consultant employed by the University Hospital Sussex NHS Foundation Trust who provides this treatment.
Arthroscopy is usually performed under a general anaesthetic, so you will be asleep during the procedure. Using an arthroscope, which is just a few millimetres wide, the inside of your joint will be projected onto a screen, allowing Mr Shah to look for signs of damage to your bone or cartilage, and in the case of knee arthroscopy, your ligaments too.
In most cases any damage that’s found can be treated there and then, using thin instruments inserted through one or two small incisions. Some of the treatments that can be successfully carried out through arthroscopy include the repair of torn ligaments, and the removal of damaged cartilage, inflamed tissue and loose fragments of bone.
The benefits of arthroscopy over more invasive procedures include less swelling and discomfort, reduced scar tissue and a shorter recovery period. In many cases it also avoids the need for a second operation, avoiding any associated risks and downtime.
Arthroscopy is normally carried out as a day case, and you will be able to go home on the same day as your procedure. Most patients are able to return to work and resume daily activities within 1-3 weeks, and you will be able to take part in more strenuous activities approximately six weeks after your operation.
We will provide you with all the arthroscopy aftercare advice you need during your pre-operative assessment, just a few days before your surgery. On the day of your procedure, you’ll have the opportunity to go through this information again and ask us any questions. To keep a close eye on your progress, we will see you for two follow-up appointments. You will also be provided with an emergency telephone number, just in case you have any queries or concerns following your operation.