Arthroscopic Surgery Specialist

Intermountain Spine and Orthopaedics

David M. Christensen, MD

Orthopaedic Surgeon located in Twin Falls, ID

When patients from in and around Twin Falls, Idaho and Gooding, Idaho suffer from shoulder and knee injuries. Dr. David Christensen provides minimally invasive arthroscopic treatment from his practice, Intermountain Spine and Orthopaedics.

Arthroscopic Surgery Q & A

What Causes Rotator Cuff Tears?

Rotator cuff tears are either acute or degenerative. Acute tears are typically caused by an accident or sudden injury. For example, a fall on an outstretched arm or lifting an overly heavy item with a jerking motion can tear the rotator cuff. Similarly, a tear can also occur with a broken collarbone or dislocated shoulder. Degenerative tears are more common and occur because the tendon has worn down over time. If you have a degenerative tear in one shoulder, it is more likely to tear the opposite shoulder because you will overcompensate with your uninjured arm. Repeating the same motions over and over again- like when a person participates in baseball, tennis, rowing, or weightlifting- can put a person at risk for overuse tears. As a person ages, the blood supply in the tendons also declines which impairs the body's natural ability to repair itself. Bone spurs also commonly develop with age. Lifting the arm causes the tendon to rub on the spur. This is called shoulder impingement. This weakens the tendon, making it even more susceptible to tearing.

What causes dislocations, labral tears, or some fractures?

A dislocation is when the humerus (arm bone) is forcefully moved from its center position in the shoulder joint.  When this occurs, the cartilage rim around the joint that helps stabilize the shoulder, the labrum, can be torn or separated off the rim of the joint.  Fractures (broken bones) can also occur with acute trauma or force to the shoulder.

What Is Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery?

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure where the surgeon uses a small scope mountain camera to send a medial stream from inside of the joint during surgery.  Shoulder arthroscopy is a common procedure to address a torn rotator cuff, torn labrum, bone spurs causing shoulder impingement, or some other problems when he injury his serious and if non-surgical treatment has not been successful.  It can help to improve shoulder strength and range of motion, and improve shoulder function.

What happens during Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery?

Initially, the surgeon makes a few small incisions around the shoulder and an arthroscope and other small cannulas are inserted.  A sterile solution will rinse and fill the joint to help the surgeon see inside the shoulder and in the subacromial space above the shoulder joint clearly.  A live stream video is projected on a TV so she can see the joint, subacromial space, and his instruments to complete the procedure.  Special instruments such as scissors, motorized shavers, graspers, small sewing instruments, and small anchors that insert into the bone are placed through cannulas from other small incisions in order to successfully perform the repairs or removals.  The procedure usually lasts between 30 minutes and 90 minutes, depending on the extent of the necessary repairs.  Once the repairs or removal are complete, the surgeon will close both small incisions with either a stitch or sterile strips.  These will then be protected with a bandage.


What Causes Knee Injuries?

Knee injuries can be either acute or degenerative. Acute injuries are typically caused by an accident or sudden injury. For example, a fall or quick twisting motion on a knee can cause an injury to the cartilage or ligaments in the knee. Degenerative tears of cartilage also occur because the knee cartilage has worn down over time. If you have a tear in one knee, the opposite knee will be at risk because you may over compensate with your uninjured leg. As a person ages, the blood supply in the tendons and ligaments, and nutrients for cartilage also declines which impairs the body's natural ability to repair itself. This weakens the tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, making it even more susceptible to tearing.

What Is Arthroscopic Knee Surgery?

Arthroscopy is a minimally-invasive procedure where the surgeon uses a small scope-mounted camera to send a video stream from the inside of the joint during surgery. Knee arthroscopy is a common procedure to address a torn ligament such as an ACL or torn cartilage such as a meniscus when the injury is very serious or if non-surgical treatment has not been successful. It can improve knee strength, stability, and range of motion satisfactorily.

What Happens During Arthroscopic Knee Surgery?

Initially, the surgeon makes a few small incisions in the knee and uses a sterile solution to rinse and fill the joint. This helps the surgeon to see inside the knee clearly. An arthroscope is inserted and a live stream video projected on a TV so he can see the joint and his tools to complete the procedure. The doctor will then insert specially designed instruments through small incisions and perform the repairs or removals. These instruments can include scissors, motorized shavers, or other instruments. The procedure usually lasts between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on the extent of the necessary repairs. Once the repairs or removal are complete, the surgeon will close the incisions with either a stitch or a sterile strip. Then these will be protected with a bandage.

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