Using a Camera in a Surgical Procedure to Address Shoulder Trauma
The term “arthroscopic” has become a commonly recognized part of our language, but it’s typically associated with knee operations. However, arthroscopy is not limited to knee surgery. In fact, the term “arthroscopy,” derived from the Greek, simply means “to look at a joint.” In this minimally invasive surgical process, the surgeon inserts a small camera into the body which conveys images to a screen. The surgeon can then use tiny surgical tools to perform a number of procedures.
Because the camera and the surgical tools are so small, the necessary incision is usually no larger than a match head, often leaving a minimal scar and creating no scar tissue. The smaller incision means less trauma to the body, less pain for the patient, and a much swifter recovery period.
When Shoulder Arthroscopy May Be Effective
As a general rule, unless there’s an immediate diagnosis of a tear or similar injury, arthroscopy won’t be the first course of treatment. It’s common to prescribe rest, physical therapy, or graduated shoulder strength and fitness programs first. However, if your injury does not properly respond to non-invasive strategies, arthroscopy may be recommended.
In general, arthroscopic surgery can be effective in treating a wide range of shoulder issues including:
- Torn or damaged rotator cuffs
- Torn labrum—Arthroscopy can remove or repair a torn labrum
- Bone spurs—Arthroscopy can remove the painful spurs
- Damaged or torn ligaments
- Inflamed tissue or loose cartilage
- Removal of a cyst
- Repair of fractures in the ball and socket joint
Arthroscopic surgery can also be used to treat a recurring shoulder dislocation.
Recovering from Arthroscopic Surgery
Arthroscopy is customarily done on an outpatient basis. In most instances, you’ll be discharged from the hospital within a couple hours. It’s not unusual to experience some pain and inflammation for a couple weeks after the surgery. You’ll typically be able to start physical therapy within a few days or a week, and that can expedite your recovery. Depending on the scope of the surgery, you may need a sling or an immobilizing device for some period of time.