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Arthroscopy is a medical procedure that orthopedic surgeons use to inspect, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint. Shoulder arthroscopy is a surgical procedure used to diagnose and treat shoulder conditions. The procedure is outpatient, which means the patient can go home the same day.

Why Shoulder Arthroscopy is Done

The procedure aids doctors in locating and treating shoulder pain that is resistant to conventional remedies. Some of the options available for treating shoulder pain include physical therapy, medication, injections, and rest.

Common shoulder arthroscopic procedures include:

  • Repair of ligaments
  • Removal of inflamed tissue or loose cartilage
  • Repair for recurrent shoulder dislocation
  • Rotator cuff repair
  • Removal or repair of the labrum

Prevalence of shoulder arthroscopy

Shoulder arthroscopy is the second most frequent orthopedic procedure after knee arthroscopy. Joints, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons are all treated during orthopedic surgery.

Rotator cuff surgery is one of the most popular types of shoulder arthroscopy.

Benefits of Shoulder Arthroscopic Surgery

  • Minimal risk of infection compared to open surgeries
  • In comparison to open procedures, shoulder arthroscopy often results in less joint stiffness and pain
  • Minimal post-operative pain
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Involves smaller incisions

Preparation for Shoulder Arthroscopy

  • The orthopedic surgeon will ask the patient to see his/her primary doctor to make sure there are no medical conditions that need to be addressed before the surgery.
  • An extensive evaluation may be conducted in case the patient has certain health risks. In connection with that, the patient should inform the doctor of any medications or supplements that he/she takes.
  • If the patient is in general good health, arthroscopy will be performed as an outpatient procedure

Right before the procedure, a member of the anesthesia team will talk with the patient about anesthesia options. In most cases, shoulder arthroscopy may be performed using a regional nerve block which numbs the shoulder and arm.

What Happens During Shoulder Arthroscopy

  • The patient will be positioned strategically so that the surgeon can easily adjust the arthroscope to have a clear visualization of the inside of the shoulder. There are two specific positions used during the procedure:
  1. Beach chair position: This is a semi-seated position that resembles lounging in a chair.
  2. Lateral decubitus position: On an operating table, the patient lies on his/her side.
  • The surgeon injects fluid into the shoulder to inflate the joint making it easier to see all the structure of the shoulder through the arthroscope. The interior of the patient’s shoulder and any injuries seen are projected on a screen via images from the arthroscope.
  • Upon clearly identifying the problem, the surgeon will insert small instruments through different incisions to treat it.

When to see a doctor following surgery

An individual should immediately seek medical attention should he/she experience the following symptoms after surgery:

  • Numbness
  • Fever
  • Smelly fluid around the wound
  • Increased swelling
  • Persistent pain that does not respond to medication.

 

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