Shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique used to repair mainly soft tissue injuries around your shoulder joint.
Arthroscopic surgery is generally used to treat rotator cuff and labral tears.
How is Shoulder Arthroscopy Performed?
Arthroscopic shoulder surgery is performed using several (three to four) small incisions through which a tiny camera, called an arthroscope, along with small instruments, are inserted to examine and repair tissue in and around your shoulder joint.
Why Your Doctor May Recommend Shoulder Arthroscopy Surgery?
Your doctor may recommend shoulder arthroscopy if you have a painful condition that does not respond to non-surgical treatment such as:
- Home exercises
- Physical Therapy
- Oral medications and steroid injections that can reduce inflammation and even allow tissues to heal
Most shoulder problems are caused by injury, overuse, and age-related wear and tear. Shoulder arthroscopy may relieve the pain from damaged rotator cuff tendons and other soft tissues around the joint.
What Happens During a Shoulder Arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy is generally performed on an outpatient basis, which allows you to return to the comfort of your home the same day after surgery. The anesthesiologist will provide a pain block before surgery (i.e., interscalene block) and provide medications during surgery to keep you asleep and comfortable for the procedure.
During the procedure, the shoulder surgeon:
- Inserts the arthroscope into your shoulder through a small incision. The scope is connected to a video monitor in the operating room.
- Inspects the tissues in your shoulder joint and the area above the joint, including the cartilage, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
- Repairs any damaged tissues. To do this, the surgeon will make 1 to 3 more small incisions and insert other instruments through them. This will assist in fixing any tear in a muscle, tendon, or cartilage. Any damaged tissue is then removed.
What Happens After Shoulder Arthroscopy Surgery?
When you wake up after surgery, you may feel groggy or nauseous, but this is normal and will soon wear off. Since most arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery is done on an outpatient basis, you will be able to go home the same day as your surgery. Depending on the procedure and surgeon preference, you will be sent home will prescriptions to help manage pain. You will be placed in a sling for comfort and provided instructions regarding the use and limitations of the shoulder to begin your recovery.
How Long Does It Take to Recover?
Recovering from arthroscopic shoulder surgery progresses in a few different stages. The early postoperative time is focused on pain management with icing, sling use for comfort, and pain medications. Simple home exercises are typically initiated within the first few days of surgery to assist in pain control and decreasing stiffness in the arm.
Although the arm will be in a sling for 4-6 weeks after your first follow up 10-14 days after surgery, recovery will transition into additional exercises and physical therapy. This timeframe is focused on allowing the shoulder to heal without overstressing the repair.
The final stages of recovery focus on improving range of motion and strengthening the shoulder to help return you to your desired sports, activities, and work. During this time, you will be working with a physical therapist to regain motion and strengthen the area. Full recovery usually takes anywhere from 4 to 6 months. It may take longer than that to do any heavy lifting. You'll also need to talk to your doctor or physical therapist before resuming any workout routines or going back to a job that could put a significant strain on your shoulder.
Want to learn more about shoulder pain? Check out our resource guide on shoulder pain
According to data from Statista, in 2018, 24% of American adults had been diagnosed with a pain condition. Shoulder issues are common causes of such pain. Shoulder pain can be experienced due to many factors like accidents and conditions such as arthritis or referred pain.
Contact Capital Surgical Associates
The Capital Surgical Associates in Boise are a group of medical professionals united behind one common goal, providing the best orthopedic and surgical care possible. This demands our entire staff work together to put your health before financial gains. The surgeons who make up Capital Surgical Associates lead the industry by their example of excellence. It was their vision to help their patients through every phase of care, eliminating inconsistent care, and allowing our doctors to monitor your progress from start to finish.
Capital Surgical Associates provides Boise with expert surgical care at an affordable price. Our doctors have privileges at Treasure Valley Hospital and St. Alphonsus Medical Center and St Luke's Medical Center in Boise. Patients can expect great orthopedic care in a friendly and caring environment. Our surgical specialties encompass knees, shoulders, back & spine, and many other areas of orthopedics.
If you think you may need a shoulder arthroscopy, contact us today. We are here to provide the best orthopedic and general surgical care in Boise.