Shoulder Arthroscopy Explained

Shoulder Arthroscopy Explained

Shoulder Arthroscopy Explained

Shoulder arthroscopy is an innovative surgical procedure that can help relieve pain and inflammation in the shoulder joint. This article will give you a better understanding of the procedure in case you are suffering from shoulder damage.

What is shoulder arthroscopy?

The shoulder is a complex network of bone, cartilage, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. If one of these is injured or stretched past its capacity, a surgeon may recommend a procedure called a shoulder arthroscopy to examine and repair the damage.  

In this innovative procedure, a surgeon makes several small incisions into the shoulder. Through those incisions, the surgeon will examine the injured shoulder joint with a small camera called an arthroscope. This camera projects onto a video monitor that helps the surgeon examine the joint for damage.

The surgeon will use a variety of small, thin instruments to repair torn or strained ligaments, tendons, or cartilage. The video projection from the arthroscope will guide the surgeon as they identify any damage.

Unlike traditional open surgery, arthroscopic shoulder surgery only requires small incisions, rather than a single larger one. Smaller incisions tend to lead to shorter recovery times and less post-operation pain.


What conditions can be treated with shoulder arthroscopy?

If you are suffering from persistent shoulder pain, a doctor may recommend arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Underlying causes for shoulder pain can come from an acute injury (like a sports injury) or from more chronic problems of instability or wear-and-tear.

Orthopedic surgeons use shoulder arthroscopy both as a diagnostic technique to identify damaged shoulder structures and as a treatment method to surgically repair them.

Here are some common conditions that may be diagnosed or treated with shoulder arthroscopy:

  •       Rotator cuff disease
  •       Torn ligaments or tendons in the shoulder
  •       Shoulder dislocation
  •       Shoulder instability
  •       Inflammation of the shoulder joint
  •       SLAP tear
  •       Shoulder impingement

Before surgery is considered, a doctor will recommend a variety of conservative treatments, including rest, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy exercises, or cortisone injections. Surgery is reserved for severe cases where symptoms of pain, swelling, and stiffness persist.

What is Shoulder Arthroscopy

What is the recovery like for shoulder arthroscopy?

Shoulder arthroscopy tends to be a shorter procedure, typically taking less than an hour. Immediately after surgery, you will be transferred to a recovery room for an hour or two. From then on, you will be able to recover at home.

You should expect a complete recovery to take several weeks or months. To recover the strength and range of motion in your shoulder, the surgeon may recommend a physical therapy program. Regular physical therapy can help restore normal functioning in the shoulder.

You can use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers to manage pain and inflammation. Other pain medications may be prescribed but should only be used according to a doctor’s instruction.

Although arthroscopic shoulder surgery tends to lead to shorter recovery times than open surgery, you will still need to rest and avoid your usual physical activity to give your shoulder time to heal. Your shoulder may need to be immobilized in a sling or other immobilizer to promote healing.


Shoulder arthroscopy at Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants

If you’re dealing with symptoms of shoulder instability or pain, shoulder arthroscopy may help relieve pain and inflammation. Our orthopedic specialists and surgeons at Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants understand how frustrating shoulder pain and injuries can be and want to help you restore your normal functioning.

We know that surgery can be a source of concern or worry and are ready to put you at ease. Our surgeons are prepared to offer you innovative surgical treatments with compassion and understanding to get you back to doing your normal activities.

Book an appointment with us today to get started on your individual treatment plan.

Only a doctor can tell you if this procedure is right for you. This is for informational purposes and should not be used in lieu of a doctor’s opinion.