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Shoulder Arthroscopy

Shoulder arthroscopy is a process in which, problems in the internal regions of the shoulder is diagnosed for damage and treated.This procedure is carried out with the help of a tiny camera called the arthroscope which enables the visualisation of the internal regions ,as it is connected to a monitor or screen. Shoulder arthroscopy is currently used in the treatment of shoulder conditions also such as rotator cuff tear, impingement syndrome, frozen shoulder and shoulder instability.

Shoulder Arthroscopy

Rotator cuff tear

The rotator cuff is composed of four muscles which when attached to shoulder becomes the tendons. Role of rotator cuff in the shoulder is to provide the stability. The rotator cuff of the shoulder can be injured due to several causes. With age the tendons lose their ability to regenerate and starts to degenerate, and the repetitive use of the shoulder leads to the wearing down or tear of the tendons of the rotator cuff of the shoulder.This tear in the rotator cuff commonly treated athroscopically.

Procedure of anthroscopy

In this procedure,the surgeon makes a small incision on the affected shoulder joint , and inserts the arthroscope. The arthroscope, being connected to monitor enables the clear view of the damage to the cartilage, bones, tendons, and ligaments of the shoulder joint. For the repair of the rotator cuff tears,several small incisions are made through which the surgical instruments such as the rivets and shavers are inserted.The torn tendons are attached to the bones with the help of rivets. These rivets or anchors are left in position to hold the tendons. Once the procedure is completed the incisions are stitched together. The whole procedure is carried out under anesthesia either general or regional.

Arthroscopy is widely used for other shoulder such as impingement syndrome and shoulder instability.

Impingement syndrome is the formation of bone spur underneath the acromion. This results in the inflammation and pain in the shoulder. This condition can be treated arthroscopically. During the arthroscopic procedure the bone spur is shaved and removed.

Shoulder instability is caused due to the torn labrum, cartilages or ligaments that surround the shoulder joint. These can be repaired arthroscopically.


To diagnose shoulder conditions, a physician performs physical examination of the joints. The physician checks for the pain and range of motion of the shoulder joints. Arthroscope can be used to diagnose the damage in the shoulder joint.Other imaging techniques such as X-rays , CT Scans or the MRI of the shoulder joints are taken. MRI arthrogram are also performed . MRI can also detect the tears or damage to the surrounding ligaments and cartilages.

What are the risks to be taken care off?

Risks involved with shoulder arthroscopy is the same as any other arthroscopic surgeries such as formation of blood clots, blood loss, or damage to nerves, infection or stiffness of the shoulder.


Once the surgery is done the patient can leave the hospital the same day. The recovery period is usually estimated to be one to six months. For several weeks the patient requires a sling. With physical therapy and good care, total recovery is possible for most of the patients and they regain normal flexibility of the shoulder.