Removal of Loose Bodies
Bone, cartilage or scar tissue may become detached forming a loose body that floats freely or gets caught within a joint. Locking of the joint may occur if the loose body is trapped between the articular surfaces of the joint, eventually resulting in degenerative joint disease. In such cases, removal of loose bodies is recommended to maintain the mobility and stability of the joint.
Loose bodies are commonly removed by a minimally invasive procedure called arthroscopy. Your surgeon will mark the operative site prior to the procedure. The procedure is carried out under local, regional or general anesthesia. The surgical site is properly cleaned. Two or three small incisions are made and portals created to access the joint. Your surgeon may inject a sterile fluid to expand the joint. A narrow tube with a camera at the end is inserted through one of the portals to view the inside of the joint and locate the loose body. A suction device inserted through another portal is used to remove it. Once the loose body is out, the instruments are removed and the incisions closed with sutures.
Recovery following arthroscopy is usually quick with minimal risks, but as with any surgical procedure, complications such as bleeding, infection, clot formation, damage to surrounding structures, and nerve damage can occur.