Dr. Peter Howard is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in treatments concerning the hips, knees, elbows, and shoulders. He has a focus in arthroscopic surgery as it is one of the least invasive procedures for joint problems.
Before recommending arthroscopic surgery, the joint in question will undergo diagnostic testing, which may include X-Rays, MRI, CAT scan, or ultrasound. After diagnosis, Dr. Howard will discuss your treatment options with you and inform you if arthroscopic surgery is a promising solution. There are many non-surgical treatments that may be provided before moving to arthroscopic surgery, such as physical therapy exercises or biologic treatments. Dr. Howard has 2 offices in Pinellas County and treats patients throughout the Tampa Bay area, including Clearwater, St Petersburg, Largo, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Dunedin, New Port Richey, Hudson, and Tarpon Springs. He stays up to date on the latest techniques and procedures.
What is Arthroscopic Surgery?
Arthroscopic surgery is a procedure that treats joint problems using a micro camera to display the inside of the joint onto a monitor. This type of surgery can be used on various joints including shoulders, knees, hips, elbows, and ankles. It can treat a multitude of joint ailments, including trimming or repairing a torn meniscus, treating cartilage damage, repairing a shoulder rotator cuff, treating shoulder bursitis, and much more.
Advantages of Arthroscopic Surgery
By displaying the inside of the joint and using micro surgical tools, arthroscopic surgery minimizes incision size and surgical alteration, making it one of the least invasive joint procedures currently available. Due to the simplicity of the operation, it is often successful in removing joint pain and inflammation, and improving movability. The minimally invasive procedure also reduces damage to surrounding tissues and structures, making recovery timely and simple. It is a very safe procedure; complications are uncommon, but may include tissue or nerve damage, infection, and blood clots.
About the Procedure
During an arthroscopic surgery, a small incision is made near the joint (approximately one centimeter in length) and a micro camera is inserted into the joint, along with a fiberoptic light source to illuminate the area. The image from the camera is displayed onto a television monitor, allowing the surgeon to view the joint internally. A sterile fluid is pumped through the joint in order to improve visibility and clear out debris. One or more additional incisions are made to insert the instruments used to complete the procedure. A variety of instruments can be used, depending on the nature of the operation (i.e. a shaver can be used to trim torn cartilage). The incisions are closed with one or two stitches. The type of anesthesia used depends on the type of surgery, but usually the patient can return home on the same day of the operation.
Post Operative Care
Since arthroscopic surgery is minimally invasive, recovery is often a simple process. You may be diagnosed medication to reduce pain and swelling, and given temporary slings or crutches to protect the joint immediately following surgery. Dr. Howard may prescribe some physical rehabilitation exercises to complete, which will improve flexibility and strength of the joint. Typically the patient can resume light activity in just a few days.