What Is Shoulder Arthroscopy?
Meet Our Shoulder Arthroscopy Specialists
About Shoulder Arthroscopy
Who Might Need Shoulder Arthroscopy?
Shoulder arthroscopy is recommended to patients who have not responded to conservative treatments for shoulder pain or injuries, such as physical therapy, medication or rest.
At OrthoEast, the conditions we diagnose and treat with shoulder arthroscopy are:
- Rotator cuff tears
- Labral tears
If you are experiencing symptoms such as persistent shoulder pain, limited range of motion or pain and weakness when lifting your arm, our team at OrthoEast will evaluate your symptoms and medical history to determine if shoulder arthroscopy is the right treatment for you.
In some cases, shoulder preservation techniques may be able to help you manage your condition without the need for shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement surgery.
Schedule a consultation with our team to evaluate your condition and find the best course of treatment.
Conditions That Require Shoulder Arthroscopy
Not all shoulder conditions require surgery, as some might only require shoulder preservation techniques such as physical therapy or medication, but conditions that could require shoulder arthroscopy surgery include:
One of the most common reasons for shoulder arthroscopy is a rotator cuff tear. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that help stabilize and move the shoulder joint.
Rotator cuff tears can occur due to overuse, degeneration, or trauma, and can cause pain, weakness, and limited range of motion. Shoulder arthroscopy can be used to repair or reattach the torn tendon to the bone.
Tendonitis is a condition that results from the overuse of a tendon, causing it to become inflamed and irritated. Tendons are resilient bands of tissue that link muscles and bones together.
In the shoulder, the tendons that are most commonly affected by tendonitis are the rotator cuff tendons.
Shoulder impingement syndrome occurs when the tendons or bursa (a fluid-filled sac) in the shoulder joint are compressed or pinched between the bones of the shoulder.
This can cause weakness, limited range of motion and pain. Shoulder arthroscopy can be used to remove bone spurs or damaged tissue that may be causing the impingement.
The labrum is a circular structure composed of cartilage which encircles the shoulder joint, providing support and stability to the humerus bone’s ball.
Labral tears can occur due to trauma or overuse, and can cause pain, weakness, and instability in the shoulder. Shoulder arthroscopy can be used to repair or remove the damaged labrum.
Frozen shoulder is a medical condition where the shoulder joint becomes stiff and painful, leading to restricted movement and discomfort.
Shoulder arthroscopy can be used to release the tight capsule that surrounds the joint, allowing for improved range of motion.
Shoulder instability occurs when the humerus bone is not properly held in place by the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the shoulder joint.
This can cause the shoulder to dislocate or subluxate (partially dislocate), resulting in pain, weakness, and instability. Shoulder arthroscopy can be used to repair or tighten the surrounding tissues to help prevent further dislocations.
How Is Shoulder Arthroscopy Performed?
The first step we take to perform a shoulder arthroscopy at OrthoEast is to make small incisions around your shoulder joint and insert a small camera (arthroscope) to diagnose the problem.
The arthroscope will transmit images to a monitor, allowing us to see inside your shoulder joint and perform the necessary repairs.
The type of repair required will depend on your specific case and severity of the instability. For example, if the labrum (the cartilage ring around the glenoid fossa) is torn, we may use sutures to reattach it to the bone. In cases where the ligaments that support the shoulder joint are stretched or torn, we may tighten them using sutures or other techniques.
The shoulder arthroscopy procedure is performed the same whether you need a left shoulder arthroscopy or a right shoulder arthroscopy.
After the surgery, you will be monitored in a recovery area until you are ready to go home. It’s important to follow our instructions for post-operative care, including keeping your shoulder immobilized for a period of time. You may also be referred to a physical therapy program to help restore range of motion and strength to your shoulder.
Types of Shoulder Arthroscopy Procedures at OrthoEast
The type of shoulder arthroscopy surgery that you may need depends on your medical history and condition.
At OrthoEast, our shoulder arthroscopy specialists perform a range of surgical procedures, including:
A rotator cuff repair is a procedure that is used to repair a torn rotator cuff tendon.
During this procedure, we use specialized instruments to reattach the torn tendon to the bone, allowing it to heal and restore function to your shoulder joint.
Bankart repair is a procedure that is used to treat shoulder instability caused by a tear in the labrum (a ring of cartilage that surrounds your shoulder joint).
During this procedure, we use specialized instruments to reattach the torn labrum to the bone, restoring stability to your shoulder joint.
SLAP (Superior Labrum Anterior Posterior) repair is a procedure that is used to treat a specific type of labral tear that occurs at the top of the labrum, near the bicep’s tendon.
During this procedure, we use specialized instruments to reattach the torn labrum to the bone, restoring stability to the shoulder joint.
Subacromial decompression is a procedure that is used to treat shoulder impingement syndrome.
During this procedure, we use specialized instruments to remove any bone spurs or damaged tissue that may be causing the impingement, allowing for improved range of motion and function in the shoulder joint.
Capsular release is a procedure that is used to treat frozen shoulders (adhesive capsulitis).
During this procedure, we use specialized instruments to release the tight capsule that surrounds your shoulder joint, allowing for improved range of motion and function in the shoulder joint.
How Long Does Shoulder Arthroscopy Take?
In general, shoulder arthroscopy can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.
The exact duration of a shoulder arthroscopy procedure depends on the complexity of the condition being treated and the type of surgery being performed.
How To Prepare for Shoulder Arthroscopy
If you are scheduled to undergo a shoulder arthroscopy operation, there are several steps you can take to prepare for the procedure and ensure the best possible outcome.
- Consult with OrthoEast: We will provide you with specific instructions to follow before the procedure. This may include avoiding certain medications, fasting for a period of time before the procedure, and arranging for transportation to and from the hospital or surgery center.
- Arrange for help at home: You will likely need someone to help you with daily tasks such as dressing, grooming, and preparing meals for a few days after the procedure. Make arrangements with friends or family members ahead of time to ensure you have the support you need.
- Wear comfortable clothing: On the day of the procedure, wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing that is easy to put on and take off.
- Avoid eating or drinking before the procedure: Your surgeon may instruct you to fast for a certain period of time before the procedure. This will help prevent nausea and vomiting during and after the procedure.
- Plan for recovery: Before the procedure, make sure you have everything you need to recover comfortably at home, such as ice packs, pain medication, and comfortable pillows. Your surgeon will also provide you with specific instructions on how to care for your shoulder in the days and weeks following the procedure.
What To Expect After Shoulder Arthroscopy
After your shoulder arthroscopy, you will be taken to a recovery area where you will be monitored until you are alert enough to go home. Your shoulder will be in a sling to keep it immobilized and to reduce pain and swelling.
Instructions for post-operative care may include:
- Taking pain medication
- Applying ice to your shoulder to reduce swelling
- Performing gentle exercises to prevent stiffness and promote healing
- Avoiding activities that may put stress on your shoulder, such as lifting heavy objects or reaching overhead
- Attending follow-up appointments with your surgeon to monitor your progress
You may experience some pain and swelling in the days following your surgery, but this should improve over time. It’s important to report any unusual symptoms to our OrthoEast team, such as increasing pain or swelling, fever, or signs of infection, as these may indicate complications.
The rate of complications within 90 days after shoulder arthroscopy surgery is extremely low, and you’re in good hands with our fellowship-trained, board-certified physicians at OrthoEast.
Shoulder Arthroscopy Surgery Recovery Time
Recovery time after shoulder arthroscopy can vary depending on your condition, the extent of the procedure, and other factors such as your age and overall health. In general, you can expect to return to normal activities within a few weeks to several months after the procedure.
Factors that can affect recovery time include:
- Type of procedure: The type of shoulder arthroscopy procedure performed can have a significant impact on your recovery time. For example, a simple diagnostic arthroscopy may only require a few days of rest and recovery, while a more extensive procedure such as a rotator cuff repair may require several weeks or even months of rehabilitation.
- Extent of the injury or condition: If you have a more severe injury or condition, it may require a longer recovery time. Our team of specialists will provide you with a more accurate estimate of recovery time based on your condition.
- Age and overall health: Recovery time can also vary depending on age and pre-existing medical conditions. If you are a senior with a pre-existing condition, you may require a longer recovery time.
Schedule a Consultation With Our Shoulder Arthroscopy Specialists at OrthoEast
We know that it can be overwhelming to process all of this information — especially if you’re dealing with a medical concern.
At OrthoEast, we provide compassionate support to guide you through the process of finding a solution for your shoulder pain. To get started, schedule a consultation at one of our New Jersey or New York locations. You can find us in:
- Wayne, NJ
- Morristown, NJ
- Clifton, NJ
- Hoboken, NJ
- Hackensack, NJ
- Linden, NJ
- Englewood, NY
- Paramus, NJ
- Wall Township, NJ
- New York, NY