Chronic shoulder pain can severely minimize your quality of life, and guess what? It’s almost always unnecessary and in most cases, it has never been easier to remedy. In all of the most common problems that prevent you from exercising, sleeping comfortably, throwing a ball with your kids, we can fix arthroscopically, meaning the surgery is minimally invasive and the recovery time is significantly shorter than a traditional surgery.
Let’s take a quick look at the basics:
- Shoulder arthroscopy has been performed for decades and has made treatment of shoulder problems safer, easier and faster than ever. More than a million of the procedures are performed around the world every year.
- Shoulder arthroscopy is a procedure used by surgeons to diagnose and repair problems in the shoulder joint, using a small cut the size of a buttonhole. If your shoulder needs to be repaired, your surgeon may insert other small instruments through one to three more small cuts in your shoulder. After surgery the cuts will be closed with stitches and covered with bandages.
- The surgery often is done with nothing more than a regional nerve block and perhaps a light sedation.
Here are a few questions my colleagues and I frequently receive:
- How is arthroscopy different from traditional surgery?
Arthroscopy uses small incisions to access your shoulder joint, minimizing the risk of complications. In traditional open surgery, large incisions are made to completely expose the joint.
- What shoulder problems can arthroscopy repair?
Shoulder arthroscopy is used to repair many shoulder conditions, including:
- Torn ligaments – ligaments help stabilize the shoulder
- Shoulder instability – when your shoulder partly or fully dislocates
- Torn rotator cuff – a tear in the muscles or tendons that attach your upper arm to your shoulder blade
- Inflammation or damaged lining of the joint – often caused by an illness such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Shoulder impingement syndrome – when the shoulder needs more room to move around
- Who can have shoulder arthroscopy?
If you have shoulder problems that persist despite nonsurgical treatment, including rest, physical therapy, medicine and injections to reduce inflammation, you are likely a candidate.
How long is recovery?
Most patients are in a sling for a week or so and experience pain and discomfort that become less severe on a daily basis. Recovery from more complicated procedures takes more time. Once healed, most people resume their favorite activities with less shoulder pain and better quality of life than beforehand.
For more information about orthopedic and spine care at Tanner, visit Tanner Ortho and Spine Center.
Carrollton Orthopaedic Clinic has locations in Bremen, Carrollton and Villa Rica. For more information, visit carrolltonortho.com or call 770-834-0873.