Shoulder arthroscopy

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More Information

What is Shoulder arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a procedure used to diagnose and treat problems related to the joints. It is used in many joints, including shoulders, knees, ankles, elbows, wrists, and hips. It is done with small equipment, so it requires tiny cuts in the skin. This means that there is a decreased risk for infection, less pain, and faster healing time.

Why would I get this procedure?

Arthroscopy can be used to evaluate the level of joint damage resulting from an injury to the joint. Sports injury and chronic osteoarthritis are common indications for the procedure. It is also helpful in the following conditions:

  • Remove fragments of loose bone or cartilage (Bone shaving)
  • Repair damaged cartilage
  • Drainage of excess fluid
  • Arthritis
  • Torn ligaments

What happens during the procedure?

An arthroscopy is usually done under general anesthesia but, sometimes, can be done under local or spinal anesthesia. 

Local anesthesia involves using numbing medications that are injected below the skin to block sensation in your shoulder. You will be awake, but you won’t feel any pain.

General anesthesia is when you get an injection (through a vein) that makes you unconscious during the surgery.

A small cut is made in the skin next to your joint so that the arthroscope can be inserted through it. Your surgeon will also make one or mode additional incisions so that other surgical instruments are inserted to cut, grasp, grind, and prove suction for joint repair.

Incisions are usually small enough so that they will be closed with one to two stitches.

What to expect after the procedure?

In general, the procedure takes around 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your case. You can expect to go home on the same day or the following day.

The recovery also depends on the joint involved and the specific procedure you had, but you can expect to be able to do your regular desk activities in few days following the procedure. You won’t be able to do intense physical activities like sport or weight lifting for few months. 

Conclusion

The recovery for everyone is different. Some situations require a long recovery period and rehabilitation, while others don’t. Your doctor will continue to monitor your recovery in the follow-up visits and tell you what to do and avoid.

If you experience any of the following symptoms following the procedure, you should immediately call your surgeon:

  • Pain that is not relieved by pain medications
  • Fever
  • Abnormal swelling
  • New tingling sensation
  • Drainage from your incision area 

Citations

Mayo Clinic:Arthroscopy

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