Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery: What to Expect | Wilson Shoulder

Arthroscopic shoulder surgery is a non invasive way for an orthopedic surgeon to get an up close look at what’s going on inside your shoulder. If you’ve been experiencing intense shoulder pain as the result of an acute injury or stress, it’s an excellent way to determine the source of your pain and potentially resolve it at the same time.

It works like this: a microscopic camera called an arthroscope is inserted into your shoulder through a tiny incision. It’s a small camera attached to a pencil-like instrument, and it allows the surgeon to magnify your shoulder’s interior.

While there may be minimal pain after surgery, you likely won’t require pain meds and will be discharged on the same day. If you’re getting ready for arthroscopic shoulder surgery, or just want to learn more about them, here’s everything you need to know.

It’s Minimally Invasive

Perhaps the best part of arthroscopic shoulder surgery is the minimal level of invasion. The surgeon will make a small incision on your shoulder, about the size of a buttonhole. Due to the small size of the incision, the recovery time from arthroscopic surgery is relatively fast.

While you’ll more than likely receive general anesthesia for this surgery, chances are you won’t need a prescription for pain medication afterwards.

During the procedure, the surgeon will use the arthroscope to closely examine every part of your shoulder. This includes the bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. After a careful examination, the surgeon will then determine what course of action is necessary. To repair the soldier, the surgeon will likely make up to three additional incisions the same size as the original. They will insert other instruments through the incisions in order to repair any damaged muscles, tendons, or ligaments.

It Repairs a Number of Shoulder Issues

Three of the most common issues treated by arthroscopic surgery are rotator cuff injuries, impingement syndrome, and shoulder instability.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

Depending on the severity of the rotator cuff injury, the surgeon will choose a procedure. They may bring together the edges of the torn tendons and attach them to the bone with sutures.

Or, they could use small sutures to attach the tendon to the bone. The sutures may be made of metal or plastic and do not need to be removed after the area has healed.

Impingement Syndrome

Some characteristics of impingement syndrome include persistent pain and inflammation. To treat it, the surgeon will clean out the damaged or inflamed tissue. If the impingement syndrome is the result of a bone spur, the surgeon may shave the bone down to remove the spur.

Shoulder Instability

Shoulder instability may be the result of a torn labrum. If that is the case, the surgeon will repair it arthroscopically. This may involve repairing the ligaments that attach to this area as well.

Recovering from Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery

Some pain after surgery is normal, and may be treated with anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen. Applying ice packs to the affected area is a great way to reduce inflammation and overall pain levels.

It’s important to go back to your surgeon after two weeks have passed for a check up, to ensure everything is healing as it should.

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