The History of Arthroscopy

30 years of exciting health breakthroughs

Arthroscopic treatment of joint injuries utilizes a small telescope inserted into the joint, connected to a miniature video camera that allows visualization of the structures inside the joint.

Specialized instruments are then used to resect, repair, thin or smooth damaged or abnormal structures as indicated.

Knee arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopy was developed in the 1970s and came into general use in the 1980s. Instruments were created and refined for specific surgical tasks, making open-knee surgery almost a thing of the past.

Today, treatment for meniscal pathology, ligament tears, and articular surface damage has become progressively more minimally invasive and continues to evolve.

Shoulder arthroscopy

Shoulder arthroscopy began in the 1980s and matured to general acceptance in the 90s.

Like knee arthroscopy, the instruments used for shoulder surgery were developed and refined to allow physicians to do more through smaller exposures.

Each year new devices and equipment are being developed, which allow us to treat rotator cuff tears, labrum and biceps tendon pathology and instability in ways to get more reliable healing and return to function.

Other surgical areas

Special, smaller scopes and instruments were developed to enable arthroscopic surgery on elbows, wrists, or ankles. Many basic problems in those joints are addressed well with arthroscopy and have much less down time than open surgery.

Most recently, the link between certain hip symptoms and specific anatomic abnormalities has been highlighted. In the last few years, again, the instrumentation has matured to allow physicians to reproducibly treat certain types of hip pathology, ranging from loose bodies to labrum tears and femoral acetabular impingement.

Would you like more information on conditions that can be successfully treated with arthroscopy? Please see Dr. Peairs’ Patient Education Library to read more.

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