What is a Shoulder Arthroscopy?

Shoulder arthroscopy is surgery that uses a tiny camera called an arthroscope to examine or repair the tissues inside or around your shoulder joint. The arthroscope is inserted through a small incision (cut) in your skin.

  • Diagnostic Arthroscopy. At the start of the procedure, a proper assessment is made of your shoulder looking for damage

After a diagnostic arthroscopy, a number of procedures can be performed. Such as:

  • Acromioplasty and Decompression
  • Rotator cuff repair
  • AC Joint Excision
  • Shoulder stabilisation
  • Capsular Release
  • Joint washout.

Also known as

  • shoulder scope
  • key hole surgery

di-shoulder-bones-label  di-shoulder-rotatorcufftear-250

  • Who is the operation for?

    Shoulder arthroscopy can be performed to treat these problems:

    • Shoulder impingement syndrome | Bone Spur removal
      • to make more room for the shoulder to move around by removing bone spurs and inflammed bursal tissue
    • Rotator cuff tear
      • these tears can be repaired using specialised “anchors” that reattach the torn tendon to the humerus.
    • Shoulder stabilisation
      • often known as shoulder reconstruction, the torn or damaged cartilage ring (labrum) or ligaments can be repaired and reconstructed.
    • Biceps tenotomy or tenodesis
      • A torn or damaged biceps tendon can either be cut away or repaired
    • AC joint arthritis
      • Arthritis of the end of the clavicle (collarbone) can be removed using key-hole surgery techniques
  • Complications

    Risks for any anesthesia include:

    • Allergic reactions to medicines
    • Breathing problems

    The risks for any surgery are:

    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Blood clot | Deep Vein Thrombosis | DVT | PE

    Risks of shoulder arthroscopy are:

    • Injury to a blood vessel or nerve
    • Shoulder stiffness
    • Failure of the surgery to relieve symptoms
    • Failure of the repair to heal
    • Weakness of the shoulder
  • Before the Operation

    Please let Dr Tran know what medications you are currently taking, including any medications, supplements or herbs that you are taking without prescription.

    During the 2 weeks before your surgery:

    • Two weeks before surgery you may be asked to stop taking drugs that make it harder for your blood to clot.
    • Dr Tran will let you know what medications you should still take on the day of your surgery
    • Tell Dr Tran if you have been drinking a lot of alcohol, more than 1 or 2 drinks a day.
    • If you smoke, try to stop. Ask Dr Tran or nurse for help. Smoking can slow down wound and bone healing.
    • Always let Dr Phong Tran know about any cold, flu, fever, herpes breakout, or other illness you may have before your surgery.

    On the day of your surgery:

    • You will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything for 6 to 12 hours before the procedure.
    • Take your drugs Dr Tran told you to take with a small sip of water.
    • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.
  • During the Operation

    The Anaesthetic

    Most people receive general anesthesia before this surgery. This means you will be unconscious and unable to feel pain. Your arm and shoulder area will be numbed so that you do not feel any pain in this area.

    The Surgery

    First, Dr Tran will examine your shoulder with the arthroscope.

    • The arthroscope is inserted into your shoulder through a small incision which is connected to a video monitor in the operating room.
    • The tissues of your shoulder joint are inspected including the cartilage, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
    • The damage tissue is repaired
    • To do this, 1 to 3 more small incisions are made so that other instruments can be used to perform the operation.

    One or more of these procedures during your surgery:

    • Surgery for impingement syndrome. Damaged or inflamed tissue is removed from an area called the “subacromial space”. Excess bone, often referred to as a “bone spur” is removed from the undersurface of the acromion.
    • Rotator cuff repair. The edges of the tendons are brought together. The tendon is attached to the bone with sutures and “suture anchors”. The anchors can be made of metal or plastic. They do not need to be removed after surgery.
    • Surgery for shoulder instability. If you have an unstable shoulder (a shoulder that dislocates or pops out of the joint), your shoulder could be stabilised by repairing special cartilage called the “laburm” and by shortening redundant and loose membrane called the “capsule”. A Bankart lesion is a tear on the labrum in the lower part of the shoulder joint whilst a A SLAP lesion involves the labrum and the ligament on the top part of the shoulder joint.

    At the end of the surgery your incisions will be closed with stitches and covered with a dressing (bandage).

    Dr Tran will take pictures from the video monitor during the procedure to show you what they found and what repairs they made.

    Dr Tran may need to do open surgery if there is a lot of damage. Open surgery means you will have a large incision so that the surgeon can get directly to your bones and tissues.

  • After the Operation

    Recovery can take anywhere from 1 to 6 months depending on your individual circumstances.

    You will probably have to wear a sling for at least the first week. If you had a lot of rotator cuff repair or shoulder stabilisation done, you may have to wear the sling for 6 weeks..

    You may take medicine to control your pain.

    When you can return to work or play sports will depend on what your surgery involved. It can range from 1 week to several months.

    For many procedures, especially if a repair is performed, physiotherapy may help you regain motion and strength in your shoulder. The length of treatment will depend on the repair that was done.

  • Recovery & Rehabilitation

    Arthroscopy is an alternative to “open” surgery that completely exposes the shoulder joint. Arthroscopy results in less pain and stiffness, fewer complications, shorter hospital stays, and faster recovery sometimes.

    If you had repair done, your body still needs time to heal after arthroscopic surgery, just as you would need time to recover from open surgery. Because of this, your recovery time may still be long.

  • FAQ’s

    Coming soon…