What is shoulder arthroscopy?
Shoulder arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that helps visualize, diagnose, and treat various problems inside the shoulder joint and in the area surrounding the rotator cuff. This procedure is performed by making small incisions which allows the insertion of specialized instruments.
An arthroscope is a tiny tool that contains magnifying lenses and a source of light. This is attached to a tiny camera that projects a clear image of the affected shoulder joint on a monitor, to make the surgeon view the inner parts of the joint in detail.
When is shoulder arthroscopy required?
Shoulder arthroscopy is used for treating a variety of common shoulder problems which includes, tendonitis, bursitis, impingement, rotator cuff tears, arthritis, labral tears and shoulder instability. Usually, patients who underwent shoulder arthroscopy had not responded well to other treatment strategies such as rest, physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and steroid injections.
How is shoulder arthroscopy performed?
Shoulder arthroscopy is performed in an outpatient surgery setting. This procedure is done under anaesthesia. Two to three small incisions are made to insert the scope and any other required instruments. Sterile fluid is filled in the joint which makes the affected area more clearly to the surgeon.
Following the surgery, you may be in a special `shoulder immobilizer’ based on the kind of surgery performed.
You will be advised for rest, icing, and anti-inflammatory medications will alleviate the pain and swelling. The surgical area must be kept dry while having a bath at least for the first 3-5 days. Light exercise is advised post one week of the surgery.
Depending on the type of surgery performed resuming back to normal physical activities will take several weeks to months.
Advantages of shoulder arthroscopy:
Improved range of motion
No overnight hospital stay
Reduced pain and swelling
Quicker functional recovery
Fewer risks and complications
Risks associated with shoulder arthroscopy
Risks and complications associated with arthroscopic surgery are very rare and might include bleeding, infection, blood clots, blood vessel injury, pain and the need for further surgery.
Patients experience continued pain after arthroscopic surgery due to any underlying damage to the articular or lining cartilage of the joint.
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