The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body and that leaves it vulnerable to injuries. While conservative, non-surgical treatment options, such as rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy are able to treat a number of shoulder injuries, serious shoulder injuries may require surgery, especially if they do not respond to nonsurgical treatment options.
Arthroscopic shoulder surgery is an advanced and effective surgical procedure that causes less post-operative pain and allows a quicker recovery. This is different from earlier surgeries that were performed using a large open incision.
Shoulder arthroscopic procedures can treat a large number of shoulder conditions and injuries. Here are 2 common injuries that can benefit from shoulder arthroscopic surgery.
Rotator Cuff Repair
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that attach to the top of the shoulder. The rotator cuff is an important structure because it allows you to raise, rotate and keep your shoulder stable.
A partial or complete rotator cuff tear is a severe injury that requires urgent medical attention. Your orthopedic surgeon can diagnose a rotator cuff tear and prescribe a treatment plan.
Most rotator cuff repairs can be performed arthroscopically. The procedure involves –
- A few, tiny incisions are made
- The damage is visualized with the help of a tiny, arthroscopic camera inserted through an incision
- Tiny instruments and sutures anchors are used to repair the tear and attach the tendon to the bone
- The incisions are closed and dressed
- The shoulder is placed in a sling
Total procedure time usually takes an hour. Physical therapy after surgery is a critical part of recovery because it helps the patient regain shoulder strength and flexibility.
The labrum is a ring of soft tissue on the outer edge of the glenoid cavity. It holds the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) in the glenoid cavity and stabilizes the shoulder. A torn labrum is a serious injury because it may cause shoulder instability and even shoulder subluxations or dislocations.
A torn labrum may have to be arthroscopically surgically repaired, which involves –
- 2-3 tiny shoulder incisions
- An arthroscopic camera is inserted into the joint to visualizethe torn labrum
- Through the other incisions, tiny instruments and sutures are inserted to repair the damage and attach the labrum to the glenoid cavity
- Incisions are closed and dressed and the shoulder is placed in a sling
The total surgery time is aboutan hour, depending on the severity of the tear. Physical therapy after surgery is critical because it helps to stretch the shoulder muscles, ligaments and tendons.
The signs of rotator cuff tears and labrum tears include –
- Difficulty lifting or raising the arm