You may need shoulder arthroscopy surgery if you are experiencing shoulder pain, limited motion, instability, or stiffness. Surgery is usually recommended when you have failed nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy, medications, or injections.
Injury, overuse, and age-related wear and tear are responsible for most shoulder problems. Shoulder arthroscopy is an option that may relieve painful symptoms that damage soft tissues surrounding the shoulder joint.
Shoulder arthroscopy surgery involves the doctor making a few small incisions around the shoulder, after using general anesthesia to put you to sleep. Using an eye piece, the doctor can see the inner tissues and surrounding bone of your shoulder on a television monitor. During surgery the doctor can inspect, diagnose, and repair problems in your shoulder.
This procedure will take approximately one hour for the doctor to perform. You will wake up in the recovery room with a bulky shoulder dressing, an IV, and possibly a shoulder sling in place. Once you are awake, taking fluids, and are in stable condition the IV will be removed and you will be able to go home.
You are encouraged to stop smoking before surgery to prevent lung complications or delayed healing. Lab work and an EKG may be scheduled prior to your surgery. Medications such as anti-inflammatory medications, aspirin, and blood thinning medications should be stopped one week before surgery unless otherwise specified by your family doctor.
You may be more comfortable resting or sleeping in a recliner type chair the first few weeks after surgery. Getting up and walking is encouraged to speed your recovery and reduce your risk of developing a blood clot.
You can expect pain and bruising for at least a week after surgery. Apply ice to your shoulder and take pain medication as prescribed to help with your pain control. You may remove your shoulder dressing 48 hours after your surgery. Your sling may be discontinued at the discretion of your surgeon.
The average recovery period for shoulder arthroscopy surgery is 2 weeks to 6 months depending on the specific type of procedure performed. Most patients are back to work within a week if the job is sedentary; however, it may take longer if the job is labor-intensive.
For additional information about this procedure, including what to do to prepare for your surgery and at-home instructions, we have included this complete patient eduction sheet as a pdf to view, download and print: