Conditions & Treatments

Shoulder Arthroscopy

Shoulder Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to inspect the interior of the shoulder joint using an arthroscope which contains a thin fiber optic camera that allows your Grossmont orthopedic surgeon to diagnose shoulder problems. If repair is needed, specially designed small surgical instruments are inserted to repair the problem. Arthroscopy is an outpatient procedure.

Shoulder arthroscopy can be used to treat:

  • Rotator Cuff damage
  • Bone spurs
  • Labral tears including SLAP tears and Bankart tears
  • Cartilage Damage
  • Ligament Tears
  • Bursitis and Impingement
  • Shoulder joint arthritis
  • Shoulder joint separations and recurrent dislocations
  • Loose bodies in the shoulder
  • Small fractures in the shoulder joint
  • pinched nerve

The Orthopedic Evaluation

Your Grossmont orthopedic surgeon will review the circumstances that led to your pain including a discussion of your symptoms and medical history. They will conduct a complete physical examination to reveal tenderness and test your range of motion and strength looking for all possible causes of your problem.

X-rays will show bone spurs or other causes of shoulder pain. An MRI will show soft tissue damage, and reveal rotator cuff tears, their location and the size, and can also show how old or new the tear is, and the quality of the cuff muscles.

Indications for shoulder arthroscopy

  • Recent acute injury and rotator cuff tear
  • Symptoms lasting six to twelve months that suggest chronic or degenerative tears
  • Shoulder pain does not improve with nonsurgical management
  • A large rotator cuff tear – over 3 cm (about 1.18 inches)
  • Significant weakness or loss of shoulder function

The goal of arthroscopic shoulder surgery is to reduce pain and restore function with minimal damage to surrounding tissues.

The procedure

The surgery requires a few small incisions typically under general anesthesia, in an outpatient surgery center. Most patients go home within an hour or two after the surgery. Athletes can often return to their sports within a few weeks.

The advantages of arthroscopy include the ability to make an accurate diagnosis and repair most damage in the affected area.

Arthroscopy benefits over open surgery include:

  • small incisions
  • less pain
  • minimal soft tissue trauma and therefore less bleeding
  • earlier mobilization to regain pain-free motion and joint mobility through rehabilitation and physical therapy. Research shows that early movement of the joint promotes healing and leads to better outcomes.
  • shorter recovery (a few weeks) and quicker return to favorite activities

Most patients who have shoulder arthroscopy do not have complications.  Risks include the usual risks of surgery – bleeding, blood clots and infection, and damage to blood vessels or nerves.  Generally, arthroscopy is very successful at easing pain and stiffness, with less complications, and faster recovery than open surgery.

Rehabilitation after surgery is important to helping you regain strength and motion. Your Grossmont orthopedic surgeon will create a rehab plan based on your surgery and needs.

Arthroscopic shoulder surgery can treat simple and complex shoulder problems. The more extensive your condition and repairs will require the longer recovery which can take several months.

At Grossmont Orthopaedics in La Mesa, California, our board certified, and fellowship trained surgical experts will treat you with respect and compassion with state-of-the-art procedures and technologies to help you get back to your life. Call us to schedule an appoint and get the right diagnosis and treatment today.