Shoulder Arthroscopy

Boise, Idaho

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What Could Be Causing Your Shoulder Pain

Arthroscopy is a procedure performed by orthopedic surgeons to examine, diagnose, and treat or repair the tissues inside a joint.


In shoulder arthroscopy, the surgeon inserts an arthroscope, which has a camera and light, inside the shoulder joint. The camera displays the pictures on a screen which are used by the surgeon to guide and manipulate miniature surgical instruments inside the joint. Since the surgical instruments and arthroscope are so small, the surgeon needs to make very small incisions rather than the big incision required for open surgery. This helps in faster recovery, lesser pain, and early return to normal daily activities.

shoulder pain shoulder arthoscopy

Shoulder Arthroscopy

Shoulder arthroscopy is recommended when you have a painful condition that does not respond to conservative or nonsurgical methods like rest, medications, physical therapy or injections. It may help in relieving pain due to many problems that damage the labrum, rotator cuff tendon, articular cartilage, and other soft tissues.

Common shoulder arthroscopic procedures include:

  • Bone spur removal
  • Rotator cuff repair
  • Repair of ligaments
  • Removal or repair of the labrum
  • Repair for recurrent shoulder dislocation
  • Removal of inflamed tissue or loose cartilage

Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery

Before the surgery:
  • Your doctor may advise you to get a physical exam done including a blood test, urine test, EKG, or X-ray, to make sure you do not have any health problems that should be addressed before the surgery.
  • The doctor will also ask you about any medications or supplements that you are taking and may suggest some changes in the doses before the surgery.
  • The anesthetist will inform you about the kind of anesthesia they are going to give for the surgery. Shoulder arthroscopy is usually performed using regional nerve blocks with or without a general anesthetic, which numb the shoulder and arm. They may also sedate you to make you sleepy and comfortable.

The Orthopedic surgeon first injects fluid into the joint to inflate it. This helps in getting better images through the arthroscope. Then the surgeon makes a small incision on your shoulder to insert the arthroscope. Images captured by the arthroscope are displayed on the screen showing the tissues present inside the joint. Once the damage is identified, small surgical instruments are inserted through separate incisions to repair it. After the repair is done, incisions are closed with either stitches or steri-strips, and it is covered with a large, soft bandage.

Shoulder Pain Recovery

What does recovery from shoulder arthroscopy look like?

Most people go home the day of surgery. Usually, recovery from arthroscopy is often faster than from open surgery. Still, it may take a few weeks to months for the shoulder joint to recover completely.

Here’s what you can expect:

Monitoring: After the surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area and kept under observation until your anesthesia wears off.

Pain management: You can expect slight pain and discomfort for at least a week after surgery. You will be given medications to reduce the pain. You can also use a cold pack.

Sling: Doctor may instruct you to keep your arm in a sling.

Recovery: Recovery from arthroscopic shoulder surgery may take 1 to 6 months.

Physical therapy: Regular planned physical therapy will help you regain shoulder strength and movement.

Orthopedic Specialists

Jeffrey Hessing, MD and Ryan Applonie, DO have a passion for helping others. They have a combined 50+ years of orthopedic excellence dedicated to the people of the Boise area. All of our surgeons are board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.

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If you are in pain from an injury or dealing with a chronic condition, our orthopedic specialists are here to help.

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