During an arthroscopy of the shoulder, also known as keyhole surgery, your orthopaedic surgeon will be able to see clearly inside your shoulder joint with a special camera called arthroscope. This will hallow to treat the problem of the structures inside the joint, when possible.
In a normal shoulder joint, in order to allow the bones to glide easily against each other and to make the joint move smoothly and pain free, the bone ends are covered by cartilage. There is also another type of cartilage within the shoulder, called soft cartilage that makes the labrum. An important tendon runs through this joint, the biceps tendon.
All of these structures can be damaged due to trauma or simply wear and tear.
What are the common shoulder problems treated by arthroscopy?
Common knee problems which are treated with an arthroscopy are:
Biceps tendon pain/rupture
Rotator cuff rupturet
Articular cartilages wear and tear
How will the surgeon treat those conditions?
If you have a torn tendo the surgeon may have to remove the torn part or, in some cases, may try and repair it. The possible options for the treatment this type of injury will be discussed with you during your consultation. If the surgeon finds a loose body or a bone spear this will be removed. If the problem is arthritis, the surgeon will be able to wash the joint out with a solution of saline water. This can improve your symptoms for some months. The arthritis will remain and take its own course. Resolution of these arthritic symptoms is usually limited with arthroscopy alone.
Are there any alternative treatment options available to me?
There are several ways of investigating knee joint problems, but arthroscopy is the only method that gives a direct view of the inside of the joint and has got the advantage of treating the condition at the same time, if needed.
Are there any possible complications?
Even thought arthroscopy is a relatively small operation, as with all kind of surgery carries some risk of complications.
These complications include:
If the wounds get infected or directly surrounding areas become red, inflamed, painful or start weeping, consult your GP or your surgeon. If indicated you will be given a medication which decreases the risks of clotting forming. A small risk of thrombosis will still persist. Please discuss these issues with the medical team if you would like further information. Stiffness is common for the first two weeks but this will subside with time. Rarely a partial stiffness residues for months or become permanent.
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