Shoulder Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery used to diagnose and treat shoulder injuries and/or problems. Arthroscopy might be a good option to treat rotator cuff tear or shoulder impingement. Minimally invasive procedures require smaller incisions than traditional surgery. It is an outpatient procedure, meaning you can go home the same day. Though full recovery can take weeks or months, exercise and physical therapy can help with healing.

During shoulder arthroscopy, orhopaedic surgeon inserts a small camera called an arthroscope through a tiny incision in your skin. This camera projects pictures of your shoulder joint to the screen. Surgeon looks at these images to find the source of your injury. If you need a shoulder repair, the surgeon uses miniature surgical instruments to restore your shoulder’s mobility.

Conditions treated with shoulder arthroscopy

Shoulder arthroscopy can remove inflamed tissue & treat shoulder injuries, such as:

  • Biceps tendon injuries.
  • Bone spurs.
  • Frozen shoulder.
  • Labrum tears.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Rotator cuff tears.
  • Rotator cuff tendinitis.
  • Shoulder impingement.
  • Shoulder instability.

during shoulder arthroscopy

Shoulder arthroscopy usually takes less than an hour. During shoulder arthroscopy surgery:

  • You will be in a semi-seated position or lying on your side.
  • Hair would be shaved if needed and skin would be cleaned with an antiseptic solution. Your arm may be placed in a holding device to make sure it stays still.
  • Orthopaedic surgeon may inject fluid into your shoulder, which inflates your shoulder joint, making it easier for the surgeon to see.
  • Your surgeon makes a small hole, usually about the size of a buttonhole, in your shoulder. Then insert the tiny camera (called arthroscope) into the incision.
  • The camera projects images of your shoulder to a video screen. Surgeon uses these images to find the problem with your shoulder.
  • Surgeon makes other small cuts in your shoulder and inserts tiny instruments.
  • Once shoulder surgery is over, incisions are closed. You may have stitches or small bandages, with a large bandage on top.

Shoulder arthroscopy advantages

You may have shoulder arthroscopy instead of open surgery (with a larger incision), depending on your specific shoulder problem. Compared to open surgeries, arthroscopic surgeries have less risk of infection and a shorter recovery time. Shoulder arthroscopy also tends to cause less joint stiffness and pain than open surgeries.

Shoulder arthroscopy recovery

Your shoulder may take weeks to months to completely heal after shoulder arthroscopy. You may experience pain and swelling for several weeks.

Ice placement and pain medication can help with pain relief. Sleeping propped up in a chair or bed for a few days after your shoulder surgery may help as well. Orthopaedic surgeon may recommend a sling to protect your shoulder.

A rehabilitation plan includes gentle exercises and physiotherapy. It can increase your shoulder movement and strength. Rehabilitation plan will be provided that suits your specific shoulder surgery.

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