Shoulder Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique that involves several small incisions into which a fiber-optic device (arthroscope) and tiny surgical instruments are inserted. Orthopaedic surgeons can diagnose and treat many different shoulder conditions with arthroscopy, while patients can benefit from less tissue damage, shorter recovery times, less scarring and less post-operative pain. This technique also avoids cutting any muscles or tendons in order to gain access to the affected area.

Shoulder arthroscopy is often performed to confirm a diagnosis after a physical examination and other imaging procedures have been performed. Some conditions can also be treated during the same procedure by inserting a few additional instruments into the joint area.

Arthroscopy can be used to treat many conditions that affect the shoulder joint. Shoulder arthroscopy, also known as shoulder scope, can be used to treat:

Candidates for Shoulder Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is an ideal treatment option for many patients suffering from shoulder conditions. It provides many benefits over traditional open shoulder surgery, including smaller incisions, less trauma and shorter recovery times. Arthroscopy is quickly becoming the standard for orthopaedic surgery because of its safety, simplicity and effectiveness.

While arthroscopy offers many benefits over a traditional open procedure, it is not for everybody. Some conditions, especially those that are not easily visible with the arthroscopic camera, may be better suited for traditional surgery. Your doctor will decide whether or not this procedure is right for you after a thorough evaluation of your condition.

Shoulder Arthroscopy Procedure

The shoulder arthroscopy procedure is performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. During the procedure, your surgeon will insert the arthroscope into a tiny incision in order to thoroughly examine the cartilage, bones, tendons and ligaments within the joint.

Any damaged areas can be repaired during the same procedure by making several other small incisions through which surgical instruments are inserted. In some cases, examination with the arthroscope may reveal that repair would be more effectively performed through an open procedure. Your doctor will decide which type of procedure is best for you.

The type of repair performed will depend on the patient’s individual condition, but may include removing inflamed tissue, reattaching torn tissue or replacing damaged cartilage. Once the repair has been made, the incisions will be closed with stitches and a dressing will be applied to the area.

Recovery from Shoulder Arthroscopy

After surgery, patients can usually return home the same day, although an overnight hospital stay may be required in some cases. Patients are encouraged to ice the shoulder and keep it immobilized in a sling for about a week. You may experience mild to moderate pain after this procedure, and medication is available from your doctor.

Many patients can return to work within a few days after their procedure, although physical activity should be avoided for longer. Full recovery from the shoulder arthroscopy procedure can take anywhere from one to six months, depending on each patient’s individual condition. A physical rehabilitation program helps patients restore function to the joint and make sure it heals properly.

Once the shoulder has fully healed, patients may enjoy restored function, pain relief, improved range of motion, improved stability and other valuable benefits from the arthroscopy procedure.

Risks of Shoulder Arthroscopy

While arthroscopy is considered safer and less invasive than traditional surgery, there are still some risks associated with this procedure. Some of these risks may include:

Your doctor will discuss these and other risks with you before you decide to undergo this procedure. To find out more about shoulder arthroscopy, and to find out if this procedure is right for you, call us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced doctors.


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