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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:49 pm
Traditional 'open' surgery normally requires a large incision, followed by a long period of time for recovery, but with advanced techniques such as arthroscopy (are-throw-SKAW-pee)) that's no longer necessary. Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure used to visualize, diagnose and treat problems inside a joint. Arthroscopic (are-throw-SKAW-pik) surgery, although much easier in terms of recovery than open surgical techniques, still requires the use of anesthetics (an-uh-STET-iks) and special equipment in a hospital operating room or outpatient surgical suite. During an arthroscopic examination, a surgeon makes a small incision in your skin and then inserts pencil-sized instruments that contain a small lens and lighting system to magnify and illuminate the structures inside the joint. By attaching the arthroscope to a miniature television camera, the surgeon is able to see and repair the interior of the joint through the very small incision. In most cases, patients have arthroscopic surgery as outpatients and are home several hours later. Even though the small puncture wounds only take several days to heal, the joint that underwent arthroscopy may take several weeks to recover.

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