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Shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that involves using a small camera, called an arthroscope, to visualize and treat various conditions within the shoulder joint. This technique allows orthopedic surgeons to diagnose and treat a wide range of shoulder problems through small incisions, resulting in reduced tissue damage, quicker recovery, and potentially less pain compared to traditional open surgery.

Here's an overview of the shoulder arthroscopy procedure:

1. Preoperative Evaluation: Before the procedure, the patient undergoes a thorough evaluation to assess the shoulder’s condition. X-rays, MRI scans, and other imaging tests might be performed to help diagnose the issue and plan the surgical approach.
2. Anesthesia: Shoulder arthroscopy is usually performed under general anesthesia or regional anesthesia, depending on the specific procedure and the patient’s preferences.
3. Surgical Procedure:
a) Incisions: Small incisions, usually around a centimeter in length, are made around the shoulder joint.
b) Arthroscopic Examination: An arthroscope, a thin tube with a camera and light attached to it, is inserted through one of the incisions to provide a clear view of the interior of the shoulder joint on a monitor.
c) Surgical Instruments: Specialized surgical instruments can be introduced through the other incisions to perform various procedures. These instruments can include small scissors, shavers, graspers, and anchors.
d) Fluid Irrigation: Saline solution is used to expand the joint and improve visualization.
e) Treatment: Depending on the specific issue, various procedures can be performed using the arthroscopic approach. These include: Rotator Cuff Repair: Repair of torn rotator cuff tendons. Labrum Repair or Stabilization: Repair of torn labrum or stabilization of the shoulder joint in cases of instability. Subacromial Decompression: Removal of bone spurs or other tissue causing impingement. Removal of Loose Bodies: Removal of loose cartilage or other debris.
4. Closure and Recovery: After the procedure, the incisions are closed with stitches or adhesive strips, and a sterile dressing is applied. The patient is then moved to the recovery area to wake up from anesthesia.
5. Recovery and Rehabilitation: Recovery from shoulder arthroscopy varies depending on the specific procedure performed. Physical therapy is often an important part of the recovery process to regain shoulder strength, range of motion, and function.
Shoulder arthroscopy offers numerous benefits, including smaller incisions, reduced scarring, shorter recovery times, and potentially less pain compared to open surgery. However, it’s important for patients to follow their surgeon’s postoperative instructions carefully and attend any recommended rehabilitation sessions. As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with shoulder arthroscopy, and patients should discuss these with their surgeon prior to the procedure.


    Dr. Chakradhar Reddy. M MBBS - MRCP(UK)