Arthroscopy of the shoulder refers to a surgical procedure that is performed by an orthopaedic surgeon to evaluate, diagnose, and/or correct problems in and around the shoulder joint. Several tiny incisions are made that allow the arthroscope (camera) to be placed inside the shoulder to visualize the underlying anatomy. Working instruments can also be placed into the other incisions.
Shoulder arthroscopy is usually performed on an outpatient basis and is often done under general anesthesia with a nerve block to the shoulder. This procedure allows the surgeon to correct and/or repair a torn labrum, rotator cuff tear, remove bone spurs, or tighten the capsule of the shoulder following a dislocation.
The procedure itself may vary in length from thirty minutes up to an hour and a half depending on the specific procedure(s) being performed.
A bulky surgical dressing is applied at the conclusion of the procedure. A sling or arm immobilizer is also use to protect the shoulder during the recovery phase.
Complications from this type of surgery are not that common. Some of the potential risks include infection, nerve and blood vessel injuries, bleeding and blood clots. There are also specific risks associated with anesthesia.
A structured rehabilitation program likely will be recommended following surgery to restore function, range of motion and strength.