Gavin Jennings, Shoulder Surgeon.
Two weeks ago, for the first time in Europe, we performed a shoulder arthroscopy in an outpatient clinic.
This procedure has become possible due to new technology which allows an arthroscope (joint telescope) to be miniaturised so it can be placed inside a needle.
This new advance, called mi-eye 2TM was developed in the USA and has just been licensed for use in the UK. It consists of a tiny camera with a light source within a needle. The camera is connected to a High Definition tablet on which the surgeon and the patient can see live images of the inside of the patient’s joint. This is done under local anaesthetic so the patient can watch the whole procedure. The joint can even be moved whilst watching inside. Photographs can be taken and video can be recorded.
Why is this such a big advance for patient care?
Until now, patients with a problem in, for example, their shoulder or knee would typically go to see a surgeon, would be examined and often an MRI scan would be requested to further assess the joint. This would involve the patient needing to return to the hospital another time for a scan and then to return for a further visit to discuss results prior to treatment commencing.
It can be seen that with the mi-eye 2 system, the patient can be assessed immediately at their first appointment and treatment can be commenced thereafter.
This system is also a valid alternative for patients who are unable to have an MRI for example due to claustrophobia or if they have metalwork within their body. The presence of other medical devices such as a pacemaker, also precludes the use of MRI. Prior to the development of mi-eye2 such patients might have needed to undergo an operation to assess the inside of the joint.
The device can also be used to assess patients after an operation if progress is not as expected, or to confirm healing of a repaired structure.
We have so far looked inside the shoulders of five patients. The procedure is proving to be very popular with the patients who have particularly liked the instant diagnosis and being able to greater understand the issue in the joint as the surgeon can explain exactly what is going on in real time, as the patient watches.
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