Arthroscopic shoulder surgery is used by orthopedic surgeons to inspect the inside of the shoulder, diagnose problems and repair any issues found. It is recommended for those with certain shoulder conditions and those whose pain did not improve with nonsurgical therapies.
During shoulder arthroscopy, the surgeon inserts an arthroscope into your shoulder joint via a small incision. An arthroscope is an instrument that is thin and flexible with a camera and light at the end. The surgeon is able to guide the camera, along with other surgical instruments while viewing the images on a monitor. The procedure can be used to treat various shoulder conditions using just a few very small incisions, quickly and easily.
Shoulder arthroscopy has many benefits. It’s a minimally invasive way to investigate the cause of shoulder pain and weakness and to diagnose and treat a problem. The recovery time is shorter than with traditional open surgery because of the small incisions used, which also results in less pain for the patient.
Shoulder arthroscopy can be used to treat several conditions of the shoulder, including:
- Shoulder instability
- Nerve entrapment
The symptoms that can be relieved by the procedure include:
- Shoulder pain
You will be given preparation instructions to follow before your arthroscopic shoulder surgery. In most cases, you will be required to do the following in preparation for surgery:
- Avoid certain medications and supplements. Certain medications and supplements increase the risk of bleeding. You may be advised to stop taking these medications or supplements for a period of time before surgery.
- Fast for 6 to 12 hours. Exactly how long you’ll need to fast before the procedure will depend on the type of anesthesia being used. Failing to fast for the time advised could result in the postponement of the surgery.
- Arrange a ride home from the airport. You will not be able to drive after your shoulder arthroscopy and will need to have someone pick you up from the airport when you arrive home. At ARO, we provide car service to and from your hotel and hospital, as well as to and from the airport while in Tampa. We want to ensure you have as little to think about as possible so that you can focus on your recovery, and getting back to your active life.
Arthroscopic shoulder surgery is usually performed using a general anesthetic to allow you to be unconscious during the procedure, therefore not feeling any portion of the operation.
The surgeon will inject fluid into your shoulder to inflate your joint. This allows the surgeon to get a better visual of the structures of your shoulder. A small incision will then be made to insert the arthroscope into the shoulder. The images will be projected onto a monitor, which your surgeon will use to look for and repair any damage. Once the issue has been identified, the surgeon will make a few other small incisions to insert instruments through to repair the issues found. Each incision is comparable to the size of a small buttonhole.
Once finished, the incisions will be closed using stitches or steri-strips and covered with a bandage.
You will be moved to a recovery room for monitoring and allowed to go home after 1 or 2 hours.
Your arm will be placed in a sling or immobilizer to restrict movement and protect your shoulder. You will be advised as to how long to wear the sling and when to return for a follow-up appointment to assess how you’re healing and remove your stitches.
You can expect pain after arthroscopic shoulder surgery and will be given pain medication to help manage the pain. Recovery will take a few weeks and depend on what damage you had repaired during the procedure. Your surgeon will provide you with a rehabilitation plan based on your needs to help you regain range of motion and strength in your shoulder.