Shoulder Pain Relief
Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure where we view the shoulder joint by using a small camera. The camera gives us a clear view of the inside of your shoulder to help us diagnose injury or disease. These cameras are very high resolution giving us an excellent picture of your muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Arthroscopy can be used to debride or clean up the shoulder. Debridement trims and removes tissue damage to the shoulder caused by arthritis, overuse, or an injury.
What Do We Use Shoulder Arthroscopy For?
Shoulder arthroscopy is most commonly used for:
- Repairing labrum or rotator cuffs
- Trimming torn pieces of articular cartilage (cartilage between bones)
- Removing loose fragments of bone or cartilage
- Removing inflamed synovial tissue
- Repairing ligaments
- Examining shoulder symptoms that are difficult to manage
Find a Shoulder Arthroscopy Specialist
Arthroscopy is done through a few small incisions. During the procedure, your surgeon inserts the arthroscope (a small camera instrument about the size of a pencil) into your shoulder joint. The arthroscope sends the image to a television monitor. On the monitor, your surgeon can see the structures of the shoulder in great detail. We use a sterile solution to fill your shoulder joint and rinse away any cloudy fluid to help us see clearly.
Your surgeon’s first task is to diagnose the problem. They will insert the arthroscope and use the image projected on the screen to guide it. Your surgeon can also use arthroscopy to feel, repair, or remove damaged tissue.
To repair or remove damaged tissue, we insert small surgical instruments through other incisions around your shoulder. These instruments might be scissors, motorized shavers, or suturing instruments. Total surgery time depends upon the findings and the treatment necessary.
Recovery From Shoulder Arthroscopy
Full recovery of your shoulder depends on the damage or injury that was in your shoulder and your personal needs.
After a simple shoulder arthroscopy and debridement, we do not always require physical therapy; however, if you choose to, you can start as soon as you like. You can go to any therapy location that is close to home or work and one that is covered under your insurance. Most patients go one to three times weekly in addition to a home exercise program.
We do encourage you to do exercises at home to keep your joints from getting stiff. If we give you a sling, it’s for comfort only. You may take it off throughout the day to do your home exercises, for physical therapy, or to shower.
During the first 2–3 weeks following surgery, your shoulder may be stiff and uncomfortable. It may be helpful to sleep in your sling. Sleeping and resting may be more comfortable if you are propped up in bed or have access to a recliner. Sleeping can remain uncomfortable or more difficult even after the first week post-op.