Arthroscopy is a procedure that is minimally invasive and used for both diagnosis and treatment of joint problems. In the case of shoulder arthroscopy, a small instrument called an arthroscope is used, which contains a light and camera to project images onto a computer screen for the surgeon to view. This procedure is used to treat a variety of conditions affecting the bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the shoulder joint.
The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint that is comprised of the head of the humerus and the socket of the scapula. Cartilage covers the articulating surfaces of these bones to allow for smooth movement, and tendons and ligaments provide stability. However, injury or disease to these structures can lead to pain, inflammation, and reduced mobility, which may require shoulder arthroscopy.
Indications for shoulder arthroscopy include shoulder impingement, rotator cuff tear, frozen shoulder, shoulder instability, biceps rupture, damaged cartilage or ligaments, bone spurs, and arthritis of the collarbone. The procedure is performed under general or regional anesthesia, and the surgeon makes small incisions in the shoulder to insert the arthroscope and other surgical instruments. Sterile fluid is injected to expand the surgical area, and the surgeon uses the arthroscope to view images on a monitor while repairing the damage.
After surgery, patients may experience some pain, but pain medications are prescribed to manage this discomfort. The affected arm is usually placed in a sling for a short period, and physical therapy is recommended to improve mobility and strength. The benefits of shoulder arthroscopy over open surgery include less pain, fewer complications, a shorter hospital stay, and faster recovery. However, there are some risks and complications associated with the procedure, including infection, bleeding, nerve or blood vessel damage, and stiffness of the shoulder joint. Active participation in physical therapy can help prevent these complications.