What is Shoulder Arthroscopy?

Nonsurgical treatment methods, such as medication or physical therapy, aren’t always effective for shoulder pain. In these cases, doctors might recommend shoulder surgery. Arthroscopy is one type of surgery often used for repairing shouShoulder surgerylder problems, since it can be done using small incisions, which helps lower the risk of complications and shortens recovery time.

Why Is Shoulder Arthroscopy Done?

Orthopedic surgeons perform this minimally invasive shoulder surgery to repair several types of shoulder problems, including:

  • Rotator cuff repair
  • Ligament repair
  • Bone spur removal
  • Loose tissue removal
  • Shoulder dislocation repair

Doctors sometimes recommend shoulder arthroscopy for shoulder pain that doesn’t improve with nonsurgical treatment methods. This type of surgery offers advantages over open surgery. Since the incisions are small, most patients are able to recover faster and resume normal activities sooner. The smaller incisions and specialized instruments that are used involve less risk of serious complications, such as infections or excessive bleeding.

What Happens During Shoulder Arthroscopy?

During the procedure, an orthopedic surgeon will make a small incision near the affected area, then insert a small camera inside it. The camera provides a view of the interior shoulder, which helps the surgeon determine what needs to be repaired. Finally, the surgeon will insert small instruments through other tiny incisions in the area to repair the shoulder.

Keep in mind that although shoulder arthroscopy involves tiny incisions, it’s still a form of surgery. As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks to be aware of. These include blood clots, infections, weakness and nerve damage.

How Long Does Recovery Take?

Recovery from this type of shoulder surgery typically takes between one and six months. You might need to wear a sling for at least one week, depending on the extent of the damage you had. Shoulder arthroscopy can cause some pain and stiffness at the surgical site, but this usually goes away over time.

If you have shoulder pain that isn’t responding to nonsurgical treatment, you might be a good candidate for shoulder surgery. An orthopedic surgeon can discuss these options with you and recommend the best course of treatment.

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