Shoulder Arthroscopy – Benefits, Common Conditions & Complications
Shoulder arthroscopy has been into medical practice since 1970. Shoulder arthroscopy is reserved for the patients in whom the nonsurgical treatments and other therapies are ineffective.
The surgical procedure used to examine or repair the tissues inside or around the joint is called as shoulder arthroscopy. Arthroscopy is also called as key-hole surgery. The arthroscope is a tiny camera that is used in the surgery to examine or correct the tissue of the shoulder joint.
Patients with the below conditions are eligible for surgical arthroscopy:
- Torn rotator cuff
- Torn or damaged bicep tendon
- Impingement syndrome
- Damaged cartilage ring or ligament
- Loose tissue that needs to be removed
- Bone spur or inflammation around the rotator cuff
Shoulder arthroscopy can be used in the treatment of the conditions like rotator cuff tears, impingement syndrome, bicep tendon tears, synovitis, arthritis of the clavicle, Bankart lesion (a labrum tear on the lower part of the shoulder joint).
The following are some of the benefits of shoulder arthroscopy, which include:
- Minimal blood loss
- Minimal invasive procedure
- Less scarring
- Easy movement of the joint after surgery
The patient is advised to stop taking medicines like aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen, and other medicines two weeks before the surgery. The patient is advised to stop smoking and drink alcohol before the surgery. Inform the doctor if suffering from any other conditions such as diabetes, heart diseases, and other medical conditions before undergoing the surgery.
During shoulder arthroscopy, the surgeon makes a small incision on the shoulder joint, and an arthroscope is inserted into it. The arthroscope contains a camera, which reflects the images on to the attached monitor, or screen that helps the surgeon guide while operating inside and around the shoulder. The tendons, muscles, or cartilage is corrected, and the tissue that is damaged is removed. After the surgical procedure is completed, the arthroscope is removed.
The patient is advised to wear a sling for the first week after the surgery. Recovery time may take from 1 month to 6 months. The doctor prescribes medications to alleviate pain and inflammation. Physical therapy is recommended after surgery to regain motion and strength to the shoulder.
The following complications may be associated with shoulder arthroscopy:
- Blood clots or bleeding
- Stiffness of the joint
- Nerve injury
- Damage to surrounding tendons
- Weakness of shoulder
- Impaired healing
Shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure, however, takes ample time for complete healing. During recovery, the patient must be watchful for any complications such as infection.