Arthroscopy is a procedure that orthopaedic surgeons use to inspect, diagnose, and repair problems inside a joint.
During shoulder arthroscopy, the surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into your shoulder joint. The camera displays pictures on a television screen, and these images are used to guide miniature surgical instruments.
Because the arthroscope and surgical instruments are thin, a very small incisions (cuts), rather than the larger incision is needed for standard, open surgery. This results in less pain for patients, and shortens the time it takes to recover and return to favorite activities.
Common arthroscopic procedures include:
Rotator cuff repair
Bone spur removal
Removal or repair of the labrum
Repair of ligaments
Removal of inflamed tissue or loose cartilage
Repair for recurrent shoulder dislocation
Shoulder arthroscopy is most commonly performed using regional nerve blocks which numb your shoulder and arm.
A small puncture is made in your shoulder (about the size of a buttonhole) for the arthroscope. Fluid flows through the arthroscope to keep the view clear and control any bleeding. Images from the arthroscope are projected on the video screen showing the inside of your shoulder and any damage.
Once the problem is clearly identified, other small instruments are inserted through separate incisions to repair it. Specialized instruments are used for tasks like shaving, cutting, grasping, suture passing, and knot tying. In many cases, special devices are used to anchor stitches into bone.
Although recovery from arthroscopy is often faster than recovery from open surgery, it may still take weeks for your shoulder joint to completely recover. One must expect some pain and discomfort for at least a week after surgery. If you have had a more extensive surgery, however, it may take several weeks before your pain subsides.
A sling or special immobilizer is used to protect your shoulder.
Rehabilitation plays an important role in getting you back to your daily activities. An exercise program will help you regain shoulder strength and motion