Arthroscopy allows doctors to diagnose and/or treat many joint problems utilizing a minimally invasive surgical method. In this procedure a tiny camera, called an arthroscope, is introduced into the joint through a small incision. The video captured by the arthroscope is projected onto a viewing screen enabling the surgeon to see all of the structures in the joint in great detail. At the same time miniaturized surgical instruments to perform tasks associated with the diagnosis and repair of the joint are inserted through other incisions.
When indicated, an arthroscopic procedure has some advantages over an open surgery. Because smaller incisions are required and there is less disruption to surrounding structures, post-operative pain and recovery time is generally reduced. Additionally these operations can often be performed as outpatient procedures.
Shoulder arthroscopy may be recommended to alleviate symptoms of painful shoulder problems that have developed as a result of an injury, overuse, or degenerative age-related changes. Some of the most common arthroscopic shoulder procedures are for the treatment of:
While other shoulder conditions may also be candidates for shoulder arthroscopy, some disorders still require an open surgical procedure.
Post-operative recovery from shoulder arthroscopy depends on the type of procedure done. Although recovery from shoulder arthroscopic surgery is usually quicker than open surgery, it may still take several weeks to recover. In order to promote a smooth recovery, it is important to abide by the surgeon’s recommendations regarding a return to daily activities and to follow the prescribed physical rehabilitation regimen.