Shoulder Arthroscopy

What is Shoulder Arthroscopy?

Shoulder arthroscopy, also called “keyhole” surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which the examination and treatment of damage is done inside the shoulder joint. Shoulder arthroscopy uses a tiny camera called an arthroscope that is placed inside a small incision (called a keyhole) in the shoulder. Small, thin surgical instruments are also used to examine and repair the tissues inside and around the shoulder joint.  Shoulder arthroscopy is one of the most common procedures performed in the treatment of shoulder injuries. The orthopedic specialists at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho have extensive experience in using this minimally invasive technique for patients in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the surrounding communities of the Treasure Valley who want to return to their active lifestyles quickly.

When did arthroscopic surgery begin to be used for joints?

Orthopedic arthroscopic surgery dates back to the 19th century, when a Danish physician first “looked” inside a knee joint without opening it up. The first report of a shoulder arthroscopy was reported in 1931 and was done on a cadaver. 28 years later, Masaki Watanabe developed a sophisticated instrument using electronics and optics to see inside human joints. Watanabe’s “No. 21” instrument was what North American surgeons used to develop their skills in surgical arthroscopy.

The understanding of shoulder disorders and their treatment has advanced significantly in the last few decades as a result of arthroscopy. Quicker recovery time, less chance of infection and less post-operative pain, make it an ideal choice for patients who need shoulder surgery.

The orthopedic shoulder specialists at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho are able to offer arthroscopy under regional or general anesthesia, on an outpatient basis. Depending on the extent of damage to the shoulder joint, most arthroscopic cases take less than an hour to perform.

Are you a candidate for shoulder arthroscopy?

There are two ways to initiate a consultation with The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho:

You can provide current X-rays and/or MRIs for a clinical case review with our team.

You can schedule an office consultation with our team.

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What types of injuries can be treated with arthroscopic shoulder surgery?

Arthroscopic surgery is used to treat a variety of injuries and conditions of the shoulder including:

What is open surgery?

Whenever possible, shoulder arthroscopy, or minimally invasive shoulder surgery is the preferred method of treatment if surgery is needed. However, patients who have experienced a significant amount of shoulder damage may require an open surgery. Open surgery is performed through one larger incision instead of a few small incisions.  The following injuries may require open surgery:

  • Rotator cuff tear that is large and complex
  • Multiple injuries with vast shoulder damage requiring repair
  • Total shoulder replacement surgery
  • AC Joint Repairs that are complex, requiring ligament reconstruction
  • Shoulder Fractures
  • Clavicle Fractures
  • Revision shoulder surgery that requires reconstruction of the arm bone (humerus) and socket (glenoid)

What is the recovery and rehabilitation after shoulder arthroscopy?

Recovery and rehabilitation may be faster for those treated with minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures. It is important to remember that bones, ligaments and tendons take time to heal, whether they are repaired with an open procedure, or arthroscopically. During the recovery and rehabilitation phases, it is important not to reinjure the healing shoulder. It is critical during the healing process to follow the instructions given by the orthopedic specialists at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho. Patients recovering from shoulder arthroscopy can expect the following:

  • Daily rehabilitation protocols, directly following surgery, must be adhered to for the best possible outcome.
  • Swelling, bruising, pain and discomfort are normal in the week following an arthroscopic procedure. Icepacks are very important for the first 48 hours, although many patients find pain relief and continue to use them for several days.
  • Patients are encouraged to take pain medications as directed, especially in the first 2-3 days following surgery.
  • If a nerve block was done prior to the arthroscopic surgery, the anesthetic may keep the arm and shoulder numb for several hours.
  • Time off work is suggested for the days following surgery.

Rehabilitation and physical therapy are key to the success of shoulder arthroscopy. The orthopedic specialists at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho will make recommendations about the timing of shoulder and arm exercises, and when to return to normal activities.

For more resources on shoulder arthroscopy, or to determine if you can be treated with arthroscopic surgery, please contact The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho, serving patients in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the surrounding communities of the Treasure Valley.

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