A shoulder arthroscopy is a surgical technique which is less invasive than traditional open surgical procedures that rely on large incisions to complete the operation. During an arthroscopy the surgeon makes a 2-3cm incisions which allows a small camera to view the anatomy of the injured tissue, thus various diagnosis can be made. Subsequently the incisions can be used for the insertion of surgical equipment, which are used to treat the pathological tissue.
Common shoulder arthroscopic procedures include:
Subacromial decompression: a common procedure used to treat shoulder impingement which occurs when movements, particularly those overhead, put pressure on the soft tissue structures of the shoulder. The procedure is used to remove a bone spur, a thickened bursa, ligamentous tissue or to shave the acromion. Thus, decompression surgery relieves pressure by expanding the available space for the soft tissue to move fluently such as the rotator cuff tendon.
Labral repair: The labarum is a fibrocartilaginous structure which assists in stabilising the shoulder joint. It is frequently injured during traumatic events or through overuse from throwing sports or weightlifting. This can cause a clicking or locking sensation, pain, reduced range of motion and instability. As such, the arthroscopic instruments are used to repair the damaged labarum and restore stability to the shoulder joint.
What symptoms can I expect following surgery?
Inflammation around the shoulder
Muscle tightness and spasm around the shoulder, neck and upper back secondary to immobilisation of the shoulder using a sling
General shoulder pain at rest
Reduced shoulder range of movement
Muscle weakness of the shoulder
Thoracic kyphosis (rounding of the back)
Poor positioning of the scapular (shoulder blade)
Stiffness of the thoracic spine (upper back)
What can I expect from my rehabilitation?
Education on the pathology of your condition and strategies to avoid aggravating activities.
Prescription of ice and non-medicated anti-inflammatory agents such as ice and creams to manage the acute inflammation and pain.
Review and progression of post-operative exercises and appropriate progressions throughout your rehabilitation based on your surgical procedure, post-operative protocol and your individual goals.
Soft tissue therapy to address muscle tightness and spasm of the surrounding muscles.
Joint mobilisation to improve the range of motion and function of your shoulder.
A structured shoulder strengthening program to provide further support to the shoulder, in allowing you to form pre-injury activity including overhead movements and lifting