A shoulder arthroscopy involves looking inside the joint with a thin camera (arthroscope). The arthroscope is placed inside the joint through a small incision and the picture is shown on a TV screen. Fluid is gently pumped into the joint to fill the space to make it easier to see. Tools are passed into the joint through 2 or 3 more small cuts and watched using the arthroscope and TV screen. These tools are used to smooth bone spurs, remove inflamed and damaged tissue and repair tendons. At the end of the surgery the shoulder is washed out with fluid and bleeding controlled. The incisions are closed with stitches and a bandage is applied.
After the surgery, your shoulder will be swollen and painful. You will be given painkillers and an ice pack to help ease the pain. Fluid leaks from the wounds after surgery and a large bandage will be used to collect it.
Usually you will need to stay in hospital overnight but you can go home the next day.
The next morning Dr Arora will discuss the results of the surgery with you. Your bandages will be changed and a physiotherapist will see you and tell you which exercises and activities are allowed. You can shower but must dry the wounds carefully.
It is normal to have pain after surgery and painkillers will be given to you to take home. Your pain will slowly reduce over time.
Like all surgery, a shoulder arthroscopy does have some risks. Most of these risks are very rare (less than one patient in 100). These risks include:
- Nerve injury
Sometimes the problem seen at arthroscopy cannot be treated with the arthroscope and further surgery may be required at another time.
An anaesthetic will be needed for your surgery. The anaesthetist will discuss this with you prior to your arthroscopy.