Arthroscopic Surgery – Going Inside the Body

By  aenriquez  published  October 31, 2018

Arthroscopic surgery uses a tiny camera (arthroscope) to examine, diagnose and repair damaged tissues inside or around joint like the shoulder or knee. A small incision is made into the skin and the arthroscope is inserted into the area being examined. The number of incisions needed is determined by what needs to be done.

Benefits of arthroscopic surgery are smaller incisions and less damage. Some physicians prefer open surgery because the structures are visible to the naked eye. It depends on what needs to be done, the specific condition, and surgeon experience.

 

There are several shoulder conditions that are repaired with arthroscopy. They include:

  • Rotator Cuff tears
  • Shoulder instability – Labral tears
  • Shoulder bursitis
  • Bicep tendonitis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • AC joint arthritis
  • Bone spurs
  • Repair ligaments
  • Remove inflamed tissue or loose cartilage
  • recurrent shoulder dislocation

Less common repairs include nerve release, fracture repair, and cyst removal.

Following surgery, someone should drive you home. Drowsiness may be felt for two or three days following the surgery. Follow post-op guidelines once home.

Guidelines include:

  • wound care- keep the site clean and dry.
  • Pain control – apply ice during the first 24 hours to reduce swelling, take pain medications as prescribed, Do Not drink alcohol
  • return to activity per doctors instructions

Complications of arthroscopy are uncommon but, may include shoulder stiffness and prolonged rehabilitation

Complications of arthroscopy are uncommon but, may include shoulder stiffness and prolonged rehabilitation. There is one rare complication called chondrolysis (damages cartilage) and can lead to frozen shoulder. Other possible complications include:

  • Infection
  • head or neck injury
  • excessive bleeding
  • blood clots
  • damage to blood vessels or nerves.

 

Rehabilitation plays a huge role in regaining use of the of the joint and resuming daily activities. An exercise program should aim at regaining shoulder strength and movement.

With more complicated repair, physical therapy will be ordered so a physical therapist can supervise the exercise program.

Depending on the health condition treated, recovery times vary. A minor repair may only require a sling and a short period of physical therapy. It will take longer to recuperate from a more complicated surgery.  Full recovery could take several months of physical therapy. Healing is a slow process. Surgeons guidelines and a good rehabilitation plan are important for a successful outcome, as well as, personal participation in the healing process.

Due to the fact that shoulder surgery hurts less, patients tend to do more too soon. The area may feel fine but still needs adequate time to completely heal. Too much activity too soon can cause recurrence of the condition or other damage to repaired tissues.

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