Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally-invasive surgery technique that uses a special instrument called an arthroscope to see inside joints and perform surgeries through small incisions. The arthroscope contains a tiny camera that can be used to transmit video images to a monitor where they can be viewed by the surgeon. Because it uses smaller incisions and involves less tissue damage, recovery can be faster and patients tend to experience less postoperative discomfort compared to traditional “open” surgical techniques that use large incisions. The risk of complications is also decreased and there is less scarring.
Surgery is used when more conservative approaches like physical therapy have proved ineffective in achieving healing and recovery. When indicated, arthroscopic shoulder surgery can be used for many types of procedures, including:
rotator cuff repair
treatment of arthritis
treatment of impingement syndrome
ligament and tendon repair
bone spur removal
labrum repair (the labrum is a cartilage ring that surrounds the joint socket)
Arthroscopy is also frequently used diagnostically to determine the underlying cause of limited range of motion, pain and other symptoms affecting the shoulder joint and to determine the cause of recurring shoulder dislocation.
Shoulder arthroscopy uses several small incisions to enable the arthroscope and the surgical instruments to reach the joint. A sterile solution will be injected into the joint first to widen the space, remove debris and make it easier for the camera to obtain clear images of the damaged area. As the procedure is performed, a special solution will be used to irrigate the joint to reduce bleeding and swelling. Once the surgery is complete, the incisions will be closed with sutures or special surgical adhesives.
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