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Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery

What Is Arthroscopic Surgery?

Arthroscopic shoulder surgery is more commonly called keyhole surgery. It involves using an arthroscope to diagnose and treat joint problems.

An arthroscope allows surgeons to literally look within the joint, without making large incisions in the skin. (The word arthroscope is derived from two Greek words, arthro or joint, and skopein – to look.)

How Is Arthroscopic Surgery Performed?

An orthopaedic surgeon inserts a narrow tube, containing a fiber-optic video camera, into the shoulder joint area.

The joint is then viewed on a monitor, which is transmitted from the arthroscope. The incision made for arthroscopic shoulder surgery is about the size of a buttonhole, and this procedure works for relatively uncomplicated shoulder problems.

Common Arthroscopic Shoulder Procedures

A variety of joint conditions may be diagnosed or treated with arthroscopic surgery. Along with the shoulder, arthroscopic surgery is also used on knees, ankles, hips, wrists, and elbows. Some common conditions which may be treated with arthroscopic surgery include:

  • Torn ligaments and tendons surrounding joints
  • Bone spurs or loose bone fragments
  • Inflamed joint linings
  • Damaged or torn cartilage
  • Joint infections
  • Removal of inflamed tissue, excessive scar tissue, or loose cartilage
  • Repairing recurrent shoulder dislocation

Some less common arthroscopic procedures may include fracture repair, nerve release, and cyst extension. Many times, arthroscopic shoulder surgery can correct problems such as a torn cartilage ring (labrum), shoulder instability, or damaged biceps tendons. Shoulder impingement, and problems associated with arthritis may also be corrected. Shoulder arthroscopy is sometimes used for rotator cuff tears if the injury is not too extensive.

What happens before Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery?

The orthopaedic surgeon will obtain medical records from the patient’s primary physician. Some medications may need to be stopped temporarily, prior to surgery. Other diagnostic tests may be ordered also, to insure a safe surgery. Local or general anesthesia will be administered at the hospital, depending on the extent of shoulder surgery you are having.

Local anesthesia is injected to block pain, in a defined area, and the patient remains awake during surgery. A general anesthesia is delivered intravenously, and will put you to sleep through the surgery. If the patient is generally in good physical health, the arthroscopic shoulder surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis, with no overnight hospital stay.

Arthroscopic Surgery Procedure

In the operating room, the patient may be placed in the beach chair position, or the lateral decubitus position. The beach chair position is similar to sitting in a reclining chair. In the lateral decubitus position, the patient is on his or her side on the operating table. The position selected, is based on the procedure being performed, as well as the surgeon’s training and preference.

The surgical team will remove any hair around the area to be addressed. An antiseptic solution is then spread over the entire shoulder, to prevent infection. The shoulder is covered with sterile drapes. The forearm is placed in a holding device in order to keep it from moving during surgery.

The surgeon will inject fluid into the shoulder. This inflates the joint so that it is easier to see various structures in the shoulder through the arthroscope. A very small incision is made for the arthroscope. Several separate incisions may be made for small specialized instruments necessary for the procedure. Instruments may be necessary for grasping, shaving, suture passing, knot tying, and cutting. Following surgery, the incisions are closed with stitches, or steri-strips, and covered with a larger bandage.

I hope this helps you to understand what is involved in Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery. For further information follow the link below to my more detailed article

Link: Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery

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Kind Regards,
Tim Allardyce DO MCSP SRP

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