Shoulder Arthroscopy in Dallas & Frisco, Texas
Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery
Our shoulders are complex, highly important joints in our bodies. Notably, they are capable of more motion than any other joint in the body. Thus, it is extremely important to our daily lives. The three bones which make up the shoulder joint are the humerus, the scapula, and the clavicle. The head of the humerus fits into a ball-and-socket joint called the glenoid. Articular cartilage covers the surface of this joint, creating a smooth and frictionless surface to help the bones glide across each other with ease. This entire joint is surrounded by ligaments which form a capsule to hold the joint together. Four tendons also surround the capsule of ligaments, forming the rotator cuff. Additionally, between the rotator cuff and the bone atop your shoulder, there is a lubricating sac called a bursa. This helps the tendons of the rotator cuff glide smoothly. For patients with shoulder issues, experienced orthopedic surgeons may recommend shoulder arthroscopy.
Shoulder Arthroscopy Surgery
Shoulder arthroscopy is a procedure that many orthopedic surgeons use to observe, diagnose, or treat conditions inside the shoulder joint. It is a less invasive procedure than many other types of surgeries, due to the nature of the instruments involved. It allows surgeons to treat a wide variety of conditions, while also shortening the recovery time. If you suffer from shoulder pain, stiffness, or other condition, shoulder arthroscopy could be the solution for you. At SPORT Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, we accept patients with a wide array of conditions, both mild and severe. Our orthopedic specialists will work with you to treat your condition or injury in a timely manner, and get your life back on track. To schedule an appointment with us, please call 469-200-2832 today.
What is Shoulder Arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy involves the use of a small camera (arthroscope) and miniature surgical instruments. The surgeon inserts the camera into a small incision in order to see both the inside of the shoulder, as well as the positions of their surgical instruments. They watch the camera view on a tv monitor, and use this to guide their movements. The small incisions allow for less pain and shorter recovery time for the patient. This important surgical advancement is extremely useful for treating a wide variety of joint conditions. Notably, improvements to the methods of shoulder arthroscopy occur every year with the creation and development of new instruments or techniques.
What to Expect After Shoulder Arthroscopy?
Recovery is a very important part of any surgical procedure. That’s why our SPORT experts work closely with every patient to ensure a smooth transition to recovery by monitoring their progress every step of the way. Most patients must wear a sling for their arm, and experience tiredness for several days. Many patients experience swelling of the shoulder, as well as slight skin discoloration around the incision areas. They may also experience swelling in their arm or hand. After a few days, this tends to dissipate.
Properly caring for oneself at home is vitally important. We highly recommend resting whenever you feel tired, no matter the time of day. Sleep helps patients recover from surgeries. To achieve a higher level of comfort for your arm, place a thin pillow under the back of your arm while you lie down. Also, walk at least a little each day. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend walking as the days pass. This boosts the flow of blood throughout your body. Avoid heavy lifting, wear the sling as long as your doctor recommends, and avoid repetitive movements.
Why is Shoulder Arthroscopy Done?
In many cases, we recommend shoulder arthroscopy when our nonsurgical treatments do not produce the desired results. Our nonsurgical treatments begin with rest, physical therapy, and medicines or injections to reduce inflammation and manage pain. Generally, inflammation causes a lot of the pain, stiffness, and swelling we see in damaged or diseased shoulders. In most cases, injury, overuse, or age is the primary reason for shoulder problems. We utilize state-of-the-art shoulder arthroscopy procedures to treat and relieve shoulder pain resulting from damage to the rotator cuff, the labrum, the articular cartilage, and other surrounding soft tissues. Below, we include a list of common procedures we perform on the shoulder arthroscopically:
- Rotator cuff repair
- Repair or removal of the labrum
- Repair of the ligaments
- Removal of loose cartilage or inflamed tissue
- Repair for recurring dislocated shoulder
- Nerve release
- Fracture repair
- Cyst excision
For more extensive procedures like shoulder replacements, we do not utilize arthroscopy. Instead, these more invasive procedures still require open surgery with larger incisions and longer recovery times.
How Safe is a Shoulder Arthroscopy?
Shoulder arthroscopy is a highly safe and effective procedure. As it is minimally invasive, it allows for less pain and shorter recovery times for patients. However, as with any surgical procedure, it still carries the small possibility of complications. Your surgeon will discuss these possibilities with you prior to performing the procedure, as it is important to keep patients informed. Below, we list the possible complications associated with shoulder arthroscopy:
- Nerve injury
- Frozen shoulder (stiffness of the shoulder joint)
- Chondrolysis (very rare damage to the cartilage of the joint, which could lead to early arthritis)
- Blood clots
- Excessive bleeding
- Damage to the blood vessels
How Long is Recovery From Shoulder Arthroscopy?
Recovery times vary from patient to patient, as they often have different conditions treated with this procedure. For minor repairs, your recovery might only last a month. You will likely wear an arm sling for at least the first week after surgery. For more extensive repairs, expect your recovery to last as long as 6 months. Returning to work or school might have to wait at least a week, but up to several months. Again, this depends both on the patient and the amount of repair performed during the procedure. Most patients take medication to manage their pain, and sometimes undergo physical therapy to restore their range of motion.
Is Shoulder Arthroscopy Major Surgery?
Unlike open surgery for procedures such as a shoulder replacement, shoulder arthroscopy is intended to be minimally invasive. It results in less pain, less stiffness, and a shorter recovery period or hospital stay than open surgery. However, if you require extensive repair during your arthroscopy, you still might undergo a long period of recovery. Additionally, some people experience complications from their surgery and require further treatment, thus lengthening their recovery time. In essence, shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure, but still has the potential to result in long recovery periods.
How Long Does the Pain Last After Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery?
Pain management is key for most postoperative recoveries. For some patients, it may take as long as six weeks to be able to sleep comfortably in a horizontal position. Many patients find that sleeping in a reclining chair is easier and produces less pain. Below, we list other effective pain management techniques that we encourage our patients to try:
- Apply ice packs to the area intermittently. During this process, avoid getting the incision wet. Also, only apply the ice pack to the area for about 20 minutes at a time, every few hours.
- Sometimes, doctors prescribe appropriate pain medications. In cases where they do not, you may utilize over-the-counter pain medications. However, check with your doctor before taking these medications, as some of them might interfere with bleeding. Follow instructions closely when it comes to taking medications.
- Sleep and rest are vital parts of recovery. To help alleviate discomfort, we recommend either sleeping in a reclining chair or propping yourself up while sleeping in bed. Additionally, place a thin pillow under the affected arm to position it up and away from the body. If you prefer sleeping on your side, be sure to sleep on the non-affected shoulder.
Dallas Shoulder Arthroscopy Specialists
If you have trouble going about your daily life because of pain or discomfort with your shoulder, our experts at SPORT Orthopedics and Rehabilitation are here to help. We perform a variety of different joint replacements and surgeries, including shoulder and elbow arthroscopy. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our professionals, as we can’t wait to work with you to restore your quality of life. To schedule an appointment with us, please call 469-200-2832 today, or visit us online and fill out our online intake form. We look forward to working with you and guiding you through the process.