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Common Minimally Invasive Orthopaedic Surgeries

Over the past few decades, minimally invasive surgery has become increasingly common across all medical specialties and the field of orthopaedics is no exception. New research and technologies have led to improved methods of many orthopaedic surgical procedures such as arthroscopic repairs of sports injuries and microscopic treatment of complex musculoskeletal conditions, and total joint replacement.

In this blog, our our board certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons will address some of the new minimally invasive orthopedic surgery options offered, what they entail and what conditions they treat. 

What is minimally invasive surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery refers to any surgical procedure that is performed through tiny incisions instead of a large opening. The smaller incisions allow the patient to have a quicker recovery time and less pain than a traditional open surgery with the same benefits as traditional surgery.

In orthopaedics, this can mean the difference between exposing the entire joint through a large, open incision and using small, targeted incisions to address only the problem area. This results in less risk during surgery, less post-operative pain and shorter recovery times.

Just as there are many different types of orthopaedic injuries, there are a wide variety of minimally invasive surgery options available at . Below are the most common minimally invasive surgical procedures undertaken at our outpatient surgery center in Raleigh.  

Knee Arthroscopy

The very first arthroscopy, or minimally invasive surgery in the joint, was performed in the 1900s on the knees. This procedure involves making two or more small incisions in the knee, then using a camera mounted on an arthroscope, a thin, flexible tube, to visualize the interior of the joint. Small surgical tools are inserted through the other incisions, and the entire operation is broadcast to a television screen. The surgeon uses this enlarged image on the screen to guide the instruments and make whatever repairs are necessary.

Knee arthroscopy is commonly used for:

  •       ACL tear reconstruction
  •       Meniscal tear repair or trimming
  •       Loose body removal
  •       Removal of inflamed synovium

Hip Arthroscopy

In this procedure, an arthroscope is inserted into the hip joint through a small incision, while surgical tools are inserted through other incisions. As with other types of arthroscopy, the surgeon views the joint and manipulates the instruments using the enlarged images provided by the arthroscope.

Hip arthroscopy can help relieve painful symptoms of many problems impacting the labrum, articular cartilage, or other soft tissues surrounding the hip joint.

Hip arthroscopy may be used to treat:

  •       Hip injuries
  •       Hip dysplasia
  •       Femoroacetabular impingement
  •       Loose bodies in joint
  •       Synovitis

Shoulder Arthroscopy

A common minimally invasive surgery, shoulder arthroscopy also uses an arthroscope and specialized tools to visualize the joint and perform repairs. It is used to relieve painful symptoms caused by damage to the rotator cuff tendons, labrum, articular cartilage, and other soft tissues surrounding the joint.

Some uses for shoulder arthroscopy include:

  • Rotator cuff repair: The recovery duration is the same as those who underwent open rotator cuff surgery, but studies show that patients who opt for this minimally invasive procedure take fewer NSAID (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) medicines in the week after the operation. This proves that patients feel less pain with this technique. 
  •  Bone spur removal
  •  Shoulder instability repair
  •  Labral repair or removal
  •  Removal of inflamed tissue

Wrist Arthroscopy

Wrist arthroscopy may be a good alternative to traditional surgery for wrist injuries and other painful wrist conditions. It is widely used for carpal tunnel release procedures, and may also be used for:

  •       Fracture repair
  •       Ligament/TFCC (triangular fibrocartilage complex) tear repair
  •       Diagnosing or treating chronic wrist pain

Minimally Invasive Total Joint Replacement

Many different types of joint replacement, including hip, knee, and shoulder, can now be performed through minimally invasive surgery.

In a total joint replacement, the damaged or worn surfaces of the joint are removed and replaced with artificial joint components that are cemented or screwed into place. In traditional joint replacement surgery, a large incision is necessary in order to expose the entire joint.

Minimally invasive joint replacement uses small incisions and disturbs the surrounding soft tissue as little as possible. The incision in a minimally invasive knee replacement surgery is usually less than 6 inches, compared to the 10 inches in traditional surgery, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Not all patients who are considering a joint replacement are candidates for a minimally invasive joint replacement, but it is an option worth discussing with your orthopaedic surgeon at our outpatient surgery center in Raleigh.

Am I a candidate for a minimally invasive orthopaedic surgery?

For many orthopaedic injuries and conditions, non-surgical treatment options and traditional surgery are still the preferred methods of treatment. The physicians at Raleigh Orthopaedic are trained in the full spectrum of treatment options and will help guide you to the best treatment for your individual needs.

Is minimally invasive orthopaedic surgery risky?

In this type of surgery, our surgeon uses smaller incisions to work on the problem area, so its risk is significantly lower than traditional surgery.

Just like any type of surgery, patients who undergo minimally invasive orthopaedic surgeries may still be at risk of developing complications with anesthesia, bleeding, and infection.

At Raleigh Orthopaedic Surgery Center, we commit to the highest standards of care for our patients. To prevent complications, patients are encouraged to strictly adhere to pre-operative and post-operative instructions given to them by our orthopaedic surgeon.


raleigh orthopaedic surgery center

Where to find the best orthopaedic surgery center in the Triangle?

Raleigh Orthopaedic Surgery Center is the largest and most modern ambulatory surgery facility in Central and Eastern North Carolina to specialize exclusively in orthopaedics. Raleigh orthopedic surgeons are board-certified with advanced training in their respective sub-specialties. Our patients receive outstanding patient satisfaction, superior clinical outcomes and reduced costs. With our care, we are with you the entire way and keep you enjoying life even during injury. 

raleigh orthopaedic surgery center

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.