Shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive, advanced surgical procedure performed on the shoulder in order to assess, diagnose, and repair various conditions within the shoulder joint. During shoulder arthroscopy, your orthopedic surgeon inserts a tiny scope (called an arthroscope) equipped with a miniature camera and light into a small incision in the shoulder in order to view the joint surfaces and tissues surrounding the joint. Your surgeon can view these images on a television monitor to determine and treat the cause of your shoulder condition.
Once a diagnosis is made, your surgeon can repair any shoulder damage using specialized surgical instruments inserted into 1-3 tiny incisions around the joint.
Benefits of shoulder arthroscopy include:
- Faster recovery time
- Less patient discomfort
- Outpatient procedure, in most cases
- Smaller incision than open surgery
- Less tissue damage and scarring
- Fewer complications
Who Can Benefit from Shoulder Arthroscopy?
Shoulder arthroscopy is typically recommended for injuries or conditions which are unresponsive to non-surgical treatments. Initial treatments for shoulder conditions may include:
- Physical therapy
Shoulder pain is often caused by damage to:
- Rotator cuff tendons
- Articular cartilage
- Other soft tissues around the shoulder joint
Most shoulder problems develop due to:
- Wear and tear over time
In some cases, depending on the area and extent of damage, shoulder repair may require open surgery to obtain an optimal result. Your surgeon will advise you if your shoulder condition can be best treated with arthroscopy.
Common Conditions Treated with Shoulder Arthroscopy
Orthopedic surgeons at OSMI offer shoulder arthroscopy for many conditions in order to provide symptom relief and restore functionality for problems which do not resolve with conservative treatments and do not require open surgery.
Diagnostic Shoulder Arthroscopy
Shoulder arthroscopy is a useful tool in diagnosing any abnormalities within the shoulder joint. Your orthopedic surgeon can use the findings discovered during the arthroscopy to diagnose your condition and proceed to treatment immediately. Most diagnostic shoulder arthroscopy is followed by a procedure to repair the area in need of treatment.
Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair
Shoulder arthroscopy can be used to repair tears in the rotator cuff. During the procedure, tendon fragments and debris are removed (debridement), the acromion is smoothed (subacromial decompression), and anchors are placed in the humerus, or upper arm bone. The rotator cuff tendon is then reattached to the humerus with sutures.
Rotator cuff injuries are common in patients whose work requires repetitive motion, especially those over age 40.
Symptoms of shoulder impingement syndrome or rotator cuff injury typically worsen over time.
Arthroscopic Bankart Repair
When the labrum becomes detached or torn from the glenoid (socket), dislocation and/or shoulder instability can result. The labrum is fibrocartilage at the rim of the glenoid which deepens the socket that the head of the humerus is nestled in and keeps the ball of the joint in its proper place. During arthroscopic bankart repair, the debris around the labrum is removed, anchors are placed near the tear, and the labrum is reattached with sutures.
Labrum detachment typically occurs due to shoulder injury or trauma and is common among athletes involved in contact sports.
Symptoms of a glenoid labrum tear can include:
- Popping, catching, or locking of the shoulder
- Pain when arm is raised
- Shoulder instability
- Loss of strength
- Decreased range of motion
SLAP (Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior) Tear Repair
A SLAP tear occurs when the uppermost, or superior, part of the labrum (where the biceps tendon attaches) as well as its front (anterior) and back (posterior) are injured. During SLAP tear repair, the torn sections of labrum are shaved off and a tiny hole is placed near the top of the labrum. A suture is run through the hole to secure the labrum to the bone.
SLAP tears can be a result of normal aging, but often occur as a result of injury or trauma from a motor vehicle accident or direct blow during sports.
SLAP tear symptoms can include:
- Pain when arm is raised
- Clicking or popping sensation in the shoulder
- Shoulder instability
- Aching pain, sometimes hard to pinpoint
Shoulder debridement is an arthroscopic procedure in which debris or damaged tissue is removed from a shoulder joint. Tissue can be damaged over time due to wear and tear, injury, or a degenerative condition, such as osteoarthritis.
After the joint is examined and cleared of the damaged or loose cartilage, your orthopedic surgeon may perform additional procedures to repair any damage discovered during your shoulder arthroscopy.
Shoulder Arthroscopy and Decompression
Shoulder arthroscopy and decompression is a procedure utilized to treat impingement syndrome which occurs when the tendons around the rotator cuff become squeezed or pinched. Often a result of osteoarthritis, this pinching can result in pain, inflammation, and limited movement in the shoulder.
Impingement can be caused by shoulder bursitis (inflammation of the bursae) and bone spurs which put pressure on the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff tendons must be decompressed to alleviate pain and restore mobility.
Shoulder arthroscopy and decompression can involve:
- Removal of swollen bursa
- Removal of coracoacromial ligament
- Shaving of the acromion bone
Creating adequate space between the bones of the shoulder joint should relieve the pressure on the rotator cuff.
Shoulder Arthroscopy and Distal Clavicle Excision
Distal clavicle excision is an arthroscopic procedure used to treat shoulder impingement in the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. The AC joint is located above the rotator cuff tendons and bursa where the acromion meets the clavicle and can become impinged, or pinched, from injury, trauma, natural degeneration, or osteoarthritis.
During distal clavicle excision, your orthopedic surgeon will remove the small end portion of the clavicle which is impinged, in order to decompress the joint by creating additional space.
Other conditions for which shoulder arthroscopy can be utilized include:
- Shoulder separation (AC separation)
- Frozen shoulder
- Shoulder tendonitis
Our goal at OSMI is to provide our patients quality, cutting-edge orthopedic treatments, both surgical and non-surgical. Dr. Michael Boothby, having performed hundreds of successful arthroscopic surgeries, is consistently rated as one of The Top Orthopedic Surgeons in the Fort Worth area. If you have questions or concerns about joint pain, or for more information about arthroscopic surgery, please submit an online appointment request or contact our office at 817-529-1900.