Arthroscopy: better living through science!

So two weeks out from my wrist surgery my incisions are just about healed shut, and I’ve regained about 20% of my range of motion.  That’s really incredible.  How is this possible?  Because the surgery was arthroscopic – it involved just two tiny incisions (about 1/3 of an inch each), some tools, and a camera.  They could see inside the joint, fix it up, and do everything they needed without slicing my entire wrist open.  This is truly one of the marvels of modern medicine.

This was my second arthroscopic surgery – the first was to repair a meniscus tear and inflamed plica in my knee back in 2001, and I was walking (well, limping) on that leg within 3 days.  In fact, the Doctors encourage rapid use of the limb you’ve had operated on to avoid loss of range of motion and atrophy of muscles.

Again, this is just amazing.  A few decades ago, none of this would have been possible.  Surgery for minor issues wasn’t usually a viable option, and surgery for major issues essentially involved major opening up of limbs.  Long recovery times.  Huge scars.  Arthroscopy is really, really cool.  I’m grateful to have such short recover times and expect to have pretty much full use of my wrist again within two months with a little physical therapy.  Already I’m using it for everyday things (carefully, and with a brace, but using it).

The surgery was a procedure called  abridement, used to try to fix the damage/inflammation from the initial injury incurred about 7 months ago.  Even with marvelous arthroscopy, surgery is always a last resort – we had tried everything else already: physical therapy, rest and splinting, steroid shots, etc.  So here’s hoping this finally fixes the problem so I can get back to some of my favorite activities that had been limited by the hurt wrist.  Looking forward to things like swimming, bicycling, yoga, baking, playing piano, and lifting.

What marvels of modern medicine have made your life better?  Has your life been improved or even saved by medications, implants, prosthetics, or surgical procedures?

And if you have a strong stomach, I found a cool video of a similar procedure to mine on YouTube:




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