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Athletes can now take advantage of some very advanced treatments to heal their injuries and return to the sports they enjoy. The following two procedures have greatly advanced the treatment of sports injuries:
In arthroscopic surgery (also known as arthroscopy) the surgeon inserts a small, fiber-optic scope through a small incision in the skin to view inside a joint. Primarily a diagnostic tool, arthroscopy allows surgeons to carefully view joint problems without performing major surgery.
Depending on the type of injury, surgeons may use small tools inserted through additional incisions to repair damage. A surgeon may repair a torn meniscus or reattach the torn ends of a ligament as well as many other procedures using arthroscopy.
Since arthroscopy uses tiny incisions, it results in less trauma, swelling and scar tissue than conventional surgery and significantly reduces recovery time. Injuries can also be addressed more quickly with arthroscopic surgery, often allowing a higher degree of success.
When joint cartilage is damaged by an injury, it doesn’t heal on its own the way other tissues in the body do. A new technique called tissue engineering addresses this problem by transplanting healthy cartilage from one area of the body to another to improve healing. Presently, tissue engineering is used for small cartilage defects, but it may play a bigger role in treating injuries in the future.