If you have been suffering from shoulder pain that has not gotten better with non-surgical treatment, you might be a candidate for shoulder arthroscopy. How do you know if this procedure is the right treatment for you? There are a number of things to consider.
What is shoulder arthroscopy? Shoulder arthroscopy is a surgical procedure in which a surgeon inserts a very small camera, an arthroscope, into your shoulder joint. The surgeon is able to view the inside of your joint on a screen as he or she is manipulating very small surgical instruments during the procedure. Use of the camera allows the surgeon to see exactly what is going on in the joint with accuracy but without using a large incision as required in standard shoulder surgery.
There are a variety of conditions that can be treated with shoulder arthroscopy. If you have been suffering from shoulder pain that has not responded to treatment options such as rest, medication and physical therapy, this procedure could be beneficial. Types of shoulder conditions that often respond well to shoulder arthroscopy include but are not limited to:
- Ligament repair
- Rotator cuff repair
- Labrum repair
- Shoulder dislocation repair after repeated occurrence
- Removal of loose cartilage
- Removal of inflamed or damaged tissue
- Impingement syndrome
- AC (acromioclavicular) joint issues including arthritis
- Biceps tendonitis
- Cyst excision
Working with an orthopedic surgeon, especially one fellowship trained in sports medicine, is important to determine if shoulder arthroscopy is the best treatment option for you. Some orthopedic surgeons have completed specific training in shoulder arthroscopy. Researching the best surgeon for this type of procedure is important.
Shoulder arthroscopy has many benefits and therefore might be right for you. Consider the following:
- Small incision required.
- Minimal blood loss resulting in less bruising after surgery.
- Patients often experience less pain as a result of the smaller incision than is needed for standard shoulder surgery.
- Shorter recovery time than standard surgery; also a result of the smaller incisions required.
- Less scaring and scar tissue which can lead to better movement in the shoulder after surgery.
So is shoulder arthroscopy right for you? Be sure to talk thoroughly with your orthopedic surgeon to determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure.