Orthopedic surgery once involved disassembling a knee or shoulder before putting it back together. Looking back, it was many times a comparatively clumsy way of fixing an injury.
Arthroscopy changed that. By using a camera to look at an injured knee or shoulder rather than opening it completely, orthopedic surgeons had a much better way to diagnose, treat and repair numerous conditions and diseases that caused joint pain or mobility problems.
These arthroscopic surgical options are available at locations throughout the Sanford Health footprint, including at the Sanford Worthington Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Clinic.
“Arthroscopy gives you the opportunity to skip a step,” said Paul Reynen, M.D., who specializes in orthopedic surgery at the Worthington clinic. “You can work directly within the joint without suffering all the issues of taking a joint apart before you repair it. It’s a light-year leap in progress as far as how to address a joint problem.”
Dr. Reynen offers arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder to treat chronic joint instability and rotator cuff tears. He also offers knee treatment for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, cartilage repairs and transplants, and posterior cruciate ligament tears (PCL).
Arthroscopic surgery improves
In the 1980s, arthroscopic surgery gained a foothold as a much better way to repair knees. In the 1990s, the technology began making an impact on shoulder issues that previously were far more complicated procedures.
“It has really revolutionized shoulder care,” Dr. Reynen said. “The concepts since then have not changed but the instrumentation has changed. What we have available to tie down a rotator cuff, for instance, has changed. What we use to secure implants has also changed. We put less metal in people now. We use more things that are bioabsorbable — things that will go away in time.”
For those experiencing pain in the knee or shoulder, arthroscopic surgery may be helpful in diagnosing and treating an injury without dramatically disrupting quality of life.
“We will see people whose shoulders have just worn out,” Dr. Reynen said. “Even if it affects them to the point where they’re not sleeping at night, it can still be a big decision to have surgery. There are so many patients, though, even within a few days of surgery, who feel much better than they did before their surgery. It’s very gratifying to be part of that.”
The Sanford Worthington Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Clinic serves a wide array of communities in southwestern Minnesota with arthroscopic surgery. A visit can be the first step to identifying an injury and determining if surgery is the right option.
“The beauty is that in many cases, it’s that it’s often same-day surgery,” Dr. Reynen said. “So you come in one day and you go home the same day.”
In addition to offering more convenient access to care for patients, same-day procedures help lessen the load for hospital staff.
“Arthroscopic surgery has been a huge blessing to people who have to go through knee and shoulder procedures,” Dr. Reynen said. “Repairs are done better now that people are proficient at it. Ultimately, it’s a very mobile technique. With the right people, we can do these procedures at smaller facilities.”
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