Grasshopper Education


Introduction:  Orthopedic Surgery

There are many types of surgical specialties in the medical field. For this course we are going to focus on the surgery that acupuncturists will encounter most often, which is orthopedic (dealing with the musculoskeletal system).

We can generalize surgery into two types: open procedures and arthroscopic or laparoscopic procedures. An open procedure typically requires a long incision (>1 inch long) to gain access to the target tissue of the surgery. Open procedures have been around since the beginning of surgery and are still used today for cases where the object being taken out or put into the body is large or if the physician needs to visualize a larger area during surgery.

Arthroscopic and laparoscopic surgeries are types of minimally invasive surgeries (MIS). The arthroscopic techniques are used more around the joints whereas laproscopic techniques are used for the internal organs. Both techniques require multiple small incisions (~1/2 inch) into the skin. These incisions are known as ‘portals’ and allow the physician to insert a small camera, tools to remove or repair tissue, and drains to clear out fluid that is pushed into the area during surgery. Because there is less damage to the surrounding tissues, these procedures tend to recover more quickly. Some procedures, such as the ACL reconstruction that we will discuss later, utilize a combination of arthroscopic techniques and open procedures.