Phone: 973-940-3166
Fax: 973-940-3170
Billing: 570-386-2366

Wrist Arthroscopy as a Diagnostic Tool


While wrist arthroscopy is usually used to treat conditions inside the wrist joints, it is also a valuable diagnostic tool for our hand surgeons. Commonly known as diagnostic arthroscopy, this procedure is minimally invasive and can help detect the source of the patient’s wrist pain. We often perform this procedure after the patient has suffered from prolonged pain that has not gone away after medication, physical therapy, or rest.

The Procedure

At Specialty Surgical Center, we only use local anesthetic on the wrists so the patient does not need to be completely put to sleep. After performing X-rays and other diagnostic imaging tests, an anesthesiologist will administer the numbing solution into the wrist and arm. The physician will then make an incision. Since our physicians are expertly trained at minimally invasive surgery, he or she will only need to make one or two small incisions. This drastically reduces the healing time because there is minimal blood loss.

The procedure is called arthroscopy because our physicians use an arthroscope while operating. An arthroscope is a small instrument with a camera on the end. Instead of making a big incision to diagnose the problem, the camera can fit into the small incisions and take a good look at what’s going on inside the wrist. The tool is hooked up to an external monitor in real-time so the physician can see inside.

After the short surgery, the physician will stitch up the wound and apply a bandage. The patient will be monitored for a brief time and be given post-operative instruction. Patients may be asked to wear a splint, although the need to wear one varies on a case-by-case basis. Patients typically heal quickly after a wrist arthroscopy, but physical therapy and exercise after rest may optimize healing time by allowing the patient to build back his or her strength.

Diagnosing a Condition

Wrist arthroscopies have multiple purposes. They can be used to diagnose a problem, but they can also be used to treat an existing condition. For this reason, if the physician is able to identify a problem during a diagnostic arthroscopy, he or she may be able to repair the problem during the same procedure. Wrist arthroscopies may be used to detect and identify problems with tissues, cartilage, and ligaments that may not show up on a traditional X-ray. If torn from the muscle or stretched, they can be extremely painful when the patient moves his or her wrist. Once a diagnosis is made, the physician can go ahead and mend the tissues.

Specialty Surgical Center is located in Sparta, New Jersey and our staff consists of board certified surgeons and anesthesiologists performing procedures in Orthopedics, Sports Medicine, Spinal Care, Podiatry, Urology, Pain Management, ENT, Hand Surgery, Lithotripsy, Brachytherapy, GYN and Laser Surgery.

For more information about Specialty Surgical Center, call 973-940-3166 or visit our Contact Page.