Sports Injury Clinic: Understanding the Basics of a Shoulder Arthroscopy

If you are experiencing pain in your rotator cuffs or any ligaments in your shoulders, getting a proper diagnosis from a sports injury clinic is fundamental to your recovery. Most of the time, when basic treatments, like physiotherapy and cortisone shots are not able to sufficiently heal the injury, many professionals would recommend getting a shoulder arthroscopy.

If you are unfamiliar with the term and the concept, this article will help you understand just one of the few options available to you.

What Is a Shoulder Arthroscopy?

A shoulder arthroscopy is a procedure used by surgeons at sports injury clinics to inspect, diagnose and even repair injuries that are within the joints of the shoulder. The procedure involves inserting a small camera, also known as an arthroscope, and other small surgical instruments into the affected shoulder joint. The recorded camera will be projected on a screen for the surgeon to get a good view of the condition of your joints from the inside, and the images are used to guide the surgical instruments.

When Is a Shoulder Arthroscopy Recommended?

In general, your physician will generally recommend trying different treatments, like icing the affected area with a cold pack for 15 to 20 minutes every three to four hours or taking over-the-counter pain relievers, to relieve the pain before recommended a shoulder arthroscopy. A shoulder arthroscopy is usually the last resort for repairing:

  • rotator cuff injuries
  • bone spurs located in the shoulder regions
  • the labrum, which is a piece of cartilage located near the shoulder blades
  • any torn or sprained ligaments that are not responding to other types of treatments
  • any inflamed tissues or loose cartilage at the shoulders
  • recurrent shoulder dislocations

A shoulder arthroscopy can also be used to repair fractures and excise cysts; however, this is not common because a shoulder arthroscopy is not the preferred treatment method for these circumstances most of the time.

What Are the Benefits of Opting for a Shoulder Arthroscopy?

A shoulder arthroscopy may be your last hope if you are experiencing pain and discomfort in your shoulders that has not responded to other treatments. A shoulder arthroscopy is actually one of the more preferred treatments at sport injury clinics because they are minimally invasive in comparison to surgical alternatives. Some of the benefits of a shoulder arthroscopy include:

  • quick recovery times. Since a shoulder arthroscopy only requires a small incision, patients are generally able to go home within the same day, and do not need to spend any extended time at a care facility or a hospital;
  • minimal use of anesthetics. Those who opt for surgery instead may need to go under general anesthesia; however, those who opt for a shoulder arthroscopy can make do with only using local sedatives;
  • a detailed look at the condition of the joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and other tissues at the shoulders. More often than not, a shoulder arthroscopy will be able to catch any details that were previously missed. As a result, a shoulder arthroscopy is generally quite effective in relieving symptoms. Patients will generally recover without experiencing recurring symptoms.

If you have been dealing with recurring shoulder pain for a prolonged period of time and no treatments have been effective so far, you should go to a sports injury clinic and talk to a specialist regarding whether a shoulder arthroscopy may help. A shoulder arthroscopy can easily repair both extensive and minor injuries that may have plagued you with pain and discomfort for your whole life. Make sure to carefully follow the surgeon's orders for getting the most successful outcome possible from the entire treatment.