Shoulder Arthroscopy

Minimally Invasive surgery = "Shoulder Arthroscopy"

In shoulder arthroscopy, the doctor uses a tiny camera to see inside the shoulder. The camera communicates with a monitor that allows the doctor to see the bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons of the shoulder. If the shoulder has an injury that can be surgically repaired, the doctor uses miniaturized surgical instruments to repair it. These instruments and the camera are inserted into tiny incisions in the shoulder. This reduces the risks associated with a large, open incision such as excessive bleeding and the risk of infection. It’s also easier on the patient because it is not as painful and allows for a shorter recovery period.

Orthopedic surgeons use shoulder arthroscopy to treat shoulder injuries such as a rotator cuff injury.

What is a Rotator Cuff Injury?

The rotator cuff is made of a group of muscles and tendons in the shoulder. These muscles and tendons form a type of cuff around the upper arm bone and help to stabilize the shoulder. An injury happens when a rotator cuff tendon is torn or inflamed.

What are the Causes of a Rotator Cuff Injury?

Rotator cuff injuries are the result of years of repeated or sudden overhead movements of the arm.

What are the Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Injury?

The symptoms of a rotator cuff injury include a sense that something in the shoulder is tearing. The shoulder is stiff, and the person feels like it might pop out of its socket. They feel severe pain and weakness in their shoulder and can’t raise their arm out to the side. If the tendon is inflamed, they may hear a cracking or popping sound whenever they move their shoulder. They experience pain if they try to lie on their shoulder.

How Common is a Rotator Cuff Injury?

Rotator cuff injuries are very common. A little over four million people a year go to their doctor because of problems with their rotator cuff. About 40,000 people have rotator cuff surgery.

Common Sports Played That Result in Rotator Cuff Injuries

Sports that require the player to move their arm overhead put a person at risk for rotator cuff injuries. These sports include tennis, volleyball, baseball, softball and swimming. Violent movements of the arm can tear a tendon, while repetitive overarm movements can inflame a shoulder tendon and lead to tendinopathy.

How is a Rotator Cuff Injury Diagnosed?

The doctor diagnoses a rotator cuff injury through a physical examination, X-rays or an MRI. In some cases, the patient is given an arthrogram, where dye is injected into the shoulder before the X ray is given. If the doctor sees that the dye is leaking, that means that the tendon is torn.

How is a Rotator Cuff Injury Treated?

A mild tear in a rotator cuff injury can heal itself through rest on the part of the patient. When these symptoms of the injury subside, the doctor may prescribe corticosteroid injections to help it heal completely then recommend the patient to a physical therapist. This will help the patients strengthen the muscles in the shoulder, and bring back the shoulder’s range of motion. If the injury doesn’t improve with rest or corticosteroid injections, the patient may need surgery. This may be arthroscopic surgery.

After the surgery, the doctor places the patient’s arm in a sling for about four to six weeks to help the shoulder heal. The doctor may also prescribe an apparatus to protect the shoulder. When the shoulder is healed, the doctor then recommends the patient to a physical therapist for rehabilitation.

What are the Complications of a Rotator Cuff Injury?

Complications of a rotator cuff injury are increasing pain and inflammation. The person may not be able to rotate their shoulder.

Expected Recovery Outcomes

Rotator cuff surgery is successful in about 75 percent of the cases. This means that the tear is either repaired, is smaller than it was or is about the same. The recovery period after the repair of a major tear in the rotary cuff can be as long as 18 months, and it’s unusual for a patient to return to the level of activity they enjoyed before their injury.

If Left Untreated

An untreated rotary cuff injury can lead to painful bone spurs in the shoulder. The shoulder itself may not function the way it should and can become unstable.

Re-Occurrence Statistics

Rotator cuff injuries tend to re-occur, and a good number don’t heal. This is especially true if the tear was large, if the patient does not follow post-operative instructions and if the patient is over age 65. Even a patient who has had a successful experience with rotator cuff surgery may experience some weakness, stiffness and pain years after the operation.

Any Other Key Points About Rotator Cuff Injuries

Depending on the extent of the injury, rotator cuff surgery can either be an outpatient procedure or the patient can spend as many as three nights in the hospital.

Contact West Idaho Orthopedics

  • *
  • *
  • *
  • *
  • *
  • *