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Single Port Arthroscopy

In 2014, Virtua became the first orthopedic center in New Jersey to begin offering an important advance in arthroscopic surgery  with single port arthroscopy.   In this procedure, the orthopedic surgeon accesses the knee with arthroscopic surgical instruments through a single small incision at the knee rather than two or three such incisions.

Virtua is one of only a handful of centers in the country
offering arthroscopy through a single incision.
Incision points with conventional arthroscopy

Incision points with conventional arthroscopy

Compared to conventional arthroscopy, single port arthroscopy offers patients these advantages:

  • less pain post-surgery
  • shorter recovery time.

Experience with the procedure to date has shown that, at one month, patients have less swelling and better activities of daily living.   Results also show that patients who undergo this procedure have a significantly better ability to play sports at three months, compared to surgery with traditional two- or three-incision arthroscopy.   The single-incision approach has the potential to also reduce complications, because fewer incisions means less chance of problems at the site or scarring beneath the incision site.

Incision point with single port arthroscopy

Incision point with single port arthroscopy

Using a Dual-Tube Port

With arthroscopy transitioning from three incisions to two over recent years, a single port approach has become the next logical step in improving this form of joint repair.   Ports are the tube-like devices through which surgeons insert their surgical devices at the point of the incision.   The new approach is made possible in part by a new parallel portal system, a port with a double tube through which the surgeon can pass both a thinner scope and surgical instruments.

Surgeons at Virtua and elsewhere are using single port arthroscopy primarily for patients who have an injury to the meniscus of the knee, loose bodies to be removed from the knee, or other less-complex arthroscopic knee operations.   Should they discover that the knee needs more complex surgery as a result of inspecting it with the arthroscope during the operation, they can convert to a two-portal procedure in the operating room.

For Patients Who Can Get Back into Action Quickly

Patients who undergo single port arthroscopy are often walking the same day as their surgery, and off of crutches and back to activities within a day or two.   These patients are seen to require less pain medication, and a much greater percentage of them report taking no pain medication at all.

Emphasis in offering single port arthroscopy has been with patients who–due ­to their physical condition, age, or other factors– have the best chance for rapid return to activities, and with patients who have a need to return to activities fastest, due to athletic or work commitments.   Through a single incision of less than one inch, the Lourdes orthopedic team is providing these patients with joint repair that restores function fastest.

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