Shoulder Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique that involves making several small incisions and inserting a fiber-optic device (arthroscope) and tiny surgical instruments to diagnose or treat certain conditions. Connected to a camera that displays images of the internal structure of the shoulder on a computer screen, the arthroscope allows the surgeon to precisely identify and target joint abnormalities. Orthopedic surgeons may perform a shoulder arthroscopy to diagnose and treat several different conditions of the shoulder. With this type of procedure, patients benefit from less tissue damage, shorter recovery times, less scarring and less post-operative pain than traditional open procedures. The use of this technique also avoids cutting any muscles or tendons in order to gain access to the affected area. Arthroscopy is an ideal treatment option for many patients suffering from shoulder conditions.

Candidates for Shoulder Arthroscopy

Shoulder arthroscopy, also known as shoulder scope, is often performed to confirm a diagnosis after a physical examination and other imaging tests have been performed. Some shoulder conditions may also be treated during the same procedure by inserting a few additional instruments into the joint area. Arthroscopy may be used to treat conditions that affect the shoulder joint which may include:

  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Labral tears
  • Impingement syndrome
  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Joint arthritis

Arthroscopy provides many benefits over traditional open shoulder surgery, including smaller incisions, less trauma and shorter recovery times.

The Shoulder Arthroscopy Procedure

The shoulder arthroscopy procedure is performed while the patient is sedated under general anesthesia, and is usually performed on an outpatient basis. During the procedure, the surgeon will insert the arthroscope into a tiny incision in order to thoroughly examine the cartilage, bones, tendons and ligaments within the joint. Any damaged areas may be repaired during the same procedure by making several other small incisions through which surgical instruments are inserted. The type of repair performed will depend on the patient’s individual condition, but may include removing inflamed tissue, reattaching torn tissue or replacing damaged cartilage. Once the repair is completed, the incisions will be closed with stitches and a dressing will be applied to the area.

Recovery from Shoulder Arthroscopy

After surgery, patients can usually return home the same day, although an overnight hospital stay may be required in some cases. Patients are encouraged to ice the shoulder and keep it immobilized in a sling for one to four weeks. Some patients experience mild to moderate pain after this procedure, and medication is often prescribed to control pain. Most patients can return to work within a few days after their procedure, although physical activity may be limited for a longer period of time. Full recovery from the shoulder arthroscopy procedure may take anywhere from one to six months, depending on each patient’s individual condition. A physical rehabilitation program helps patients restore function to the joint and ensure that it heals properly.

Once the shoulder has fully healed, most patients experience restored function, pain relief, improved range of motion and improved stability of the shoulder.

Risks of Shoulder Arthroscopy

While arthroscopy is considered safer and less invasive than traditional surgery, there are risks associated with this procedure which may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Shoulder stiffness
  • Blood clots
  • Shoulder weakness

Nerve damage and infection are also possible complications associated with the shoulder arthroscopy procedure.

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  • Monday: 8:30am – 5:00pm
  • Tuesday: 8:30am – 5:00pm
  • Wednesday: 8:30am – 5:00pm
  • Thursday: 8:30am – 5:00pm
  • Friday: 8:30am – 5:00pm
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

The Musculoskeletal Center

4 Centennial Drive, Suite 201 Peabody, MA 01960

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Mass General - North Shore

104 Endicott Street, Suite LL00 Danvers, MA 01923

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978.531.0800                  

Fax: 978-531-2929

At New England Orthopedic Specialists, patient health and well-being is our highest priority. In light of recent COVID-19 developments, patients should be assured that we employ the highest standards of safety and infection control protocols. We are continuously monitoring and following state and federal guidelines regarding avoiding potential exposure to the virus.

We are currently open and seeing patients at our location in Peabody. Based on the current recommendations, we are limiting patient visits to the office based on clinical needs. If you have an appointment and have not heard from us, you can plan on attending your appointment. However, if you are experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms or may have had exposure to the virus through traveling or direct contact, please call us so that we can determine the best plan of action.

We will be contacting you if the physician has determined that your appointment can be postponed. In many cases, we are utilizing telephone visits as much as possible to check in with you. We are keeping track of visits that are being cancelled and will contact you when it has been determined it is safe to see patients again on a routine basis.

If you have experienced a recent injury or are experiencing any serious orthopedic issues, please give us a call at 978-531-0800. Avoid the emergency room. Our Ortho Express is staffed and ready to care for your urgent needs, including availability of imaging and bracing, all in one location.