Shoulder arthroscopy is a form of minimally invasive surgery. It involves inserting a small telescope (arthroscope) with an in-built light source and a camera into the shoulder joint via a very small incision (keyhole surgery).This allows the surgeon to view the inside of the joint via a television monitor in theatre. Specially-designed instruments are inserted through other small incisions, providing the ability to treat a wide range of conditions that would previously have required major open surgical procedures.
The commonest conditions that require an arthroscopic assessment and treatment include subacromial impingement, rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder, shoulder instability or arthritis (wear and tear).
How is it performed?
The (2-3) small incisions are closed with sutures or steristrips, and a supportive dressing is applied.
Local anaesthetic is injected into the shoulder at the end of the operation which means that there should be little pain for the first few hours. Once this wears off, however, there may be some discomfort for the first few days. Simple painkillers may be required to control this.
How long does it take to recover from shoulder arthroscopy?
How much you are allowed to do will be determined by how quickly the shoulder recovers from the surgery, and what the underlying problem was, and how successfully this has been treated. Commonly, it will take between 6-12 weeks to fully recover.