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Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: What is Wrist Arthroscopy?

Wrist arthroscopy is a type of procedure that is performed by doctors to treat many common wrist injuries. 

“Probably the most common patient I see is somebody that has a fall or an injury to the wrist, has an acute trauma to the wrist and has x-rays and are told they don’t have a fracture, don't have any findings on x-ray, but weeks or months down the road has persistent pain in the wrist," said Dr. Michael Potter, with Sentara Martha Jefferson Orthopedics.

Wrist arthroscopy allows doctors to treat soft tissue wrist injuries that may be prevalent after a traumatic event. The good news is that a big, open surgery that would have been needed in the past is no longer necessary thanks to the technique.

“We make two small incisions on the back of the wrist, and basically introduce a camera and through the other incision we have a variety of tools that we can use through that incision," noted Dr. Potter.

Through the tiny incisions doctors can treat ligament tears, wrist fractures, and ganglion cysts. The procedure is done in the outpatient setting, with patients going home the same day.

Additionally, sometimes the procedure is performed for diagnostic purposes, when imaging techniques like x-ray just don’t show the complete picture. 

“Imaging gives us a lot of information, but there’s no substitute for being able to put a camera in and look directly at the structures that we’re concerned about,” noted Dr. Potter.

This procedure is done in an outpatient setting and you'll go home the same day.

For more information on this topic, please call 1-800-SENTARA. If you have a question about your health you’d like us to answer, please email healthquestions@nbc29.com

Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday

Do you have health questions? Get the answers every Monday morning from the experts in our feature: Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday.

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