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The diagnosis and treatment of shoulder joint problems have improved greatly since a minimally invasive procedure called arthroscopy was developed. Arthroscopy allows your surgeon to see inside your shoulder and to carry out procedures through tiny incisions.
Arthroscopic surgery can be used to diagnose and treat shoulder injuries.
Arthroscopy uses a device called an arthroscope. This tiny, pen-shaped instrument has a micro video camera attached to the end. The arthroscope is inserted through a tiny incision in your shoulder. The camera relays images to a computer screen. Your surgeon can use the images to diagnose the joint problem and to carry out appropriate surgery.
During the surgery, several tiny incisions are made to insert the arthroscope and surgical instruments. First, the surgeon uses the arthroscope to view the shoulder and evaluate the bones, tendons (def.), and ligaments (def.). Then the surgeon uses small instruments to make necessary repairs.
This minimally invasive approach to surgery can help speed recovery, reduce pain, and minimize scarring, when compared with traditional "open" surgery.
Patient Jennifer says she is pleased with the results of her arthroscopic surgery, returning to work within a week. "The surgeon did a great job and was very supportive before and after the surgery. He only did what he needed to do during the procedure. I was so happy he could do what he needed to do arthroscopically."
Jennifer also says she is delighted that her scars are so minimal. "I had two tiny incisions — and one is almost invisible now," she pointed out.
Arthroscopic surgery may be an option for treating the following shoulder problems:
Your orthopaedic surgeon (def.) can use arthroscopic surgery to perform these and other procedures:
Keep in mind that orthopaedic experts say many shoulder patients are seen later than recommended. Individuals who have pain that's more than just a little bruise, ache, or a muscle strain should seek early evaluation, the experts counsel.
There are potential benefits of arthroscopic surgery when compared with traditional "open" surgery. With arthroscopic surgery, it's more likely that:
Arthroscopic surgery and complying with your physical therapy plan can help jump-start your return to the activities you love.
All surgery has risks:
Some of the things that may be discussed include:
Possible postsurgical complications include:
The word arthroscopy comes from two Greek words: "arthro" (joint) and "skopein" (to look). The term means "to look within the joint."