Shoulder Arthroscopy

  • Shoulder arthroscopy is minimal invasive, keyhole surgery of your shoulder
  • Shoulder arthroscopy can be done for rotator cuff tears, after a shoulder dislocation or for shoulder bursitis
  • The advantages are less soft tissue damage, reduced pain and faster recovery

What is Shoulder Arthroscopy?

Shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive or key-hole surgery performed to treat various shoulder problems. It involves using a specialised camera (arthroscope) to see inside your shoulder joint. Despite the incisions being small, different instruments can then be used to repair any injured structures, such as your rotator cuff or the labrum (cartilage) in cases of shoulder instability. Arthroscopy can also be used to free-up shoulder stiffness or remove loose bodies inside your shoulder joint.


Why is shoulder arthroscopy done?

  1. Diagnostic Purpose: In some cases, shoulder arthroscopy can be used as a diagnostic tool to evaluate and identify the cause of your shoulder pain. It can also be used to quantify instability, look at your cartilage inside your shoulder and assess why you may have limited range of motion. The arthroscope provides a detailed view of the structures inside the joint, including the cartilage of your humeral head and the glenoid (socket), the rotator cuff, any bony spurs above your shoulder joints as well as tendons.
  2. Surgical Treatment: Shoulder arthroscopy can also be used for surgical treatment and repair of carious structures. Some common procedures performed arthroscopically include:
    • Rotator Cuff Repair: Repair of a torn rotator cuff tendon.
    • Shoulder Stabilisation: Surgical treatment for shoulder instability, such as labrum (cartilage) repair or capsular tightening.
    • Shoulder Impingement: Removal of bone spurs or and inflamed bursa in the subacromial space, which can relieve impingement on the rotator cuff tendons.
    • Release of a tight shoulder in cases of a frozen shoulder.
    • Removal of Loose Bodies or Inflamed Tissue: Removal of loose fragments, damaged tissue, or inflamed synovium within the shoulder joint.
shoulder arthroscopy

Shoulder Arthroscopy

Shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure to treat various shoulder conditions

What are the advantages of shoulder arthroscopy?

Shoulder arthroscopy is less invasive compared to traditional open surgery. It is not suited for every shoulder condition, as some surgeries still require an open incision, such as with shoulder replacements. Even though the incisions are small, in some cases shoulder arthroscopy can allow for a better view and more effective repair of your shoulder. With less soft tissue damage, it can also reduce postoperative pain, allow you to leave hospital quicker, recover  faster, and potentially improve outcomes.

What to expect with shoulder arthroscopy?

Shoulder arthroscopy is typically performed under general anesthesia. The anaesthetist may also perform a nerve block for your, which will numb your arm for 12-18hours reduce your pain after surgery and help protect any repaired structures while your wake up from the anaesthetic. Despite being key-hole surgery, it is still considered major surgery on your shoulder. As several small incisions are made around the shoulder, a camera (arthroscope) and specialised surgical instruments are inserted into your shoulder joint.

After your surgery, the small incisions are closed with removable stitches and adhesive strips. In most cases, a waterproof dressing is also used so you can have a shower during your recovery. Recovery times can vary depending on why you had surgery and what structures were repaired. You will usually need to wear a sling for a period of time and follow a rehabilitation program with your physiotherapist to allow maximal shoulder recovery by increasing range of motion, function and strength.

Get Expert Help

It’s important to note that not all patients with shoulder pain fall into one specific diagnosis and your individual symptoms can vary. If you are experiencing shoulder pain, limited mobility, or other concerning symptoms, it is best to be seen by a shoulder surgeon. Dr Arthur Turow is an Australian trained shoulder surgeon based in Adelaide. He can assess your shoulder, provide you with an accurate diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment options specific for your individual needs.

Please use above information as a guide only. More detailed information specific to your condition and your recovery will be given in your consultation with Dr. Arthur Turow, who will also provide additional resources to supplement your discussion. For more information, please contact the rooms of Dr. Arthur Turow on (08) 8236 4179.