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Shoulder Problems & Arthroscopy: Treatment Procedure & Recovery

An Arthroscopy is a surgical approach in the medical field with a wide application. The term Arthroscopy comes “arthro” (joint) and “skopein” (to look). The surgical procedure is called Arthroscopy generally because an arthroscope is used during the operation.

An arthroscopy is a two or three-way medical approach which is conducted to diagnose, evaluate or treat any problem in the joint. Shoulder Arthroscopy is a procedure where the surgeon utilizes an arthroscope to diagnose or treat any issue in your shoulder joint.

Understanding the Shoulder Joint

Understanding the Shoulder Joint

Apart from the knee and hip joint, a shoulder joint is another complex part of the human body. The shoulder joint is made up of three bones that include;

  • The upper arm bone (humerus)
  • The shoulder blade (scapula)
  • The collarbone (clavicle)

The shoulder joint is made of many parts and can be explained as below;

To facilitate motion, the head of the upper arm bone is fitted into the round socket (glenoid) of the shoulder blade. The ball and socket is covered by the articular cartilage. This cartilage smoothens the surface to help the bones function easily.

On the other hand, the shoulder capsule holds the joint together and it is surrounded by bands of tissue known as the ligaments. The synovium lies underneath the capsule and produces a synovial fluid to lubricate the shoulder joint.

The Rotator cuff- it covers the head of the humerus and also attaches it to the shoulder blade. Lastly, we have the Bursa, which is a lubricating sac. The bursa of the shoulder is located between the rotator cuff and the acromion.

Shoulder Issues & Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Shoulder Issues & Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Your risk of developing shoulder osteoarthritis increases with age, but other shoulder problems like injuries can also occur. An injured or diseased shoulder will produce pain, stiffness, and sometimes swelling.

Overuse or accidents can also cause shoulder problems that can limit motion.

Shoulder Evaluation

A physical exam is necessary to evaluate your shoulder and may also be followed by an X-ray, blood tests, or an MRI. An arthroscopy can also be used to let a surgeon look at the inner region of the shoulder to ascertain the level of damage.

Non-surgical treatments like medications, injections, rest and physical therapy may be recommended, but in case the pain aggravates, an arthroscopy is suggested.

What Can An Arthroscopy Do in Case of a Shoulder Problem?

What Can An Arthroscopy Do in Case of a Shoulder Problem?

An arthroscopy can;

  • Repair ligaments
  • Cyst excision
  • A surgeon can remove bone spurs
  • A surgeon can repair Rotator cuff
  • A surgeon can remove the damaged cartilage or any inflamed tissue
  • A surgeon can repair or remove labrum
  • Nerve release
  • Correct dislocations or fracture repair

Does It Require Preparation?

Preparation will generally depend on the extent of damage and a patient’s condition. You may be requested to stop certain medications or supplements a few weeks to your surgery. An X-ray, an electrocardiogram, or blood tests may be required.

During a Shoulder Arthroscopy

During a Shoulder Arthroscopy

The surgery is generally conducted using regional anaesthesia or nerve blocks injected into your shoulder. Numbing approaches are generally decided to provide comfort during the entire procedure.

You will be positioned after which the surgeon will inject a saline solution into the joint to enlarge the inner parts. Tiny incisions or punctures are made where an arthroscope is introduced into your shoulder. Images with the help of an arthroscope are projected on the screen and when the damaged location is identified, other small instruments are introduced via another incision to repair the damage.

Lastly, stitches are made using specialized instruments after which the surgeon will close the incisions.

Post-Op Phase & recovery

Your shoulder will be covered with a bandage after which you are taken in a recovery room. You will be monitored for a few hours after which your caretaker will take you back home.

Medications like Opioids will be provided to relieve pain or any other safe drug. An Arthroscopy requires a short downtime, but it may take you weeks for total recovery to occur.

You are advised to relax the shoulder and any exercises must be conducted as dictated by the surgeon. These exercises must be gradually developed to prevent damage to the treated shoulder.

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