Shoulder Arthroscopy - aka Arthroscopic surgery
What it is?
An arthroscopic surgery a surgical procedure that will allow a surgeon to look at, diagnose, and to treat problems in a patient’s joint. It’s performed with the help of an arthroscope, which is an instrument which is a tiny fiber-optic instrument that lets a surgeon have a look at a joint’s inside through a tiny incision. It’s used to monitor, treat and diagnose diseases and injuries of the joint. Some of the more common problems that are diagnosed and treated with an arthroscopic surgery are: synovitis of the joint, injuries to the knee, loose cartilage in the knee or shoulder, joint damage which was caused by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
The surgery will be done either in an outpatient surgical facility or in a hospital. The type of anaesthesia that the surgeon uses, whether it’s spinal, local, or general, and the length of the procedure vary. It all depends on what joint is being operated upon, the injury type or extent, and how difficult the repair is going to be.
The surgeon will make two incisions that are approximately the size of a buttonhole in the skin that is located near the joint, and then he or she will inject sodium chloride solution into one of the incisions. This solution will both irrigate the area and to suction any debris or blood from the joint.
The arthroscope will be inserted into the second incision and the surgeon will use it to look at the joint on the television monitor. Thanks to the monitor, the doctor can determine what needs to be done. They can use it to take a biopsy, treat the injury, or repair it.
The surgeon may find it necessary to make a third incision so that they can insert other instruments, like little scalpels or lasers, or see other pieces of the affected joint, if additional corrections or repairs are in order. This type of surgery can also be used in order to remove pieces of floating cartilage, to treat tears that are minor, and to debride. The arthroscope will be removed at the end of the procedure and the joint will be irrigated once again. The incision site will then be dressed with compression bandages.
Alternatives to Surgery
There are a few alternatives that may be considered before someone decides to have arthroscopic surgery. These include participating in less physically demanding or strenuous activities, physical therapy, use of a brace or walking aid, anti-inflammatory medication, acupuncture, therapeutic massage, chondroiten and glucosamine sulfate which will reduce stiffness and pain.
Before the Operation
Before the patient has arthroscopy, the surgeon will review the patient’s medical history and the patient will have a physical. They will have urine and blood tests, and scans of the affected joint. These scans include CT, arthogram, and MRI. Some patients also go through an exercise regime or try using a TENS unit so that the muscles are strengthened before surgery.
The patient should stop the use of anti-inflammatory medications and aspirin two weeks prior to surgery, stop smoking, let the surgeon know if they have any illness or they have any injuries close to the site of the surgery. They should not chew gum, drink or eat for twelve hours before surgery. Bring crutches for a knee or hip arthroscopy. They should wear clothing that fits loosely so that it will fit over the dressing.
After the Surgery - In the hospital
This procedure is usually done as an outpatient. The patient will spend one to two hours in the recovery room before they are discharged. If the surgeon determines that a patient should be observed overnight the patient will be taken to a hospital room. The site will be wrapped with an ace bandage or will be fit with support hose. There will be an ice pack placed on the joint that was treated or examined with the arthroscopy.
After the surgery - At home
Some of the things that a surgeon may suggest when the patient goes home are keeping the site of the surgery clean and dry, using ice for 72 hours to reduce swelling and pain, keep the affected joint elevated on pillows and gently exercise it to encourage good circulation, and use a sling or brace temporarily. The dressing can usually be removed on the day after surgery and will be replaced with strips of adhesive. If the patient has an increase in redness, swelling, pain, bleeding, or drainage, or shows any signs of infections such as dizziness, fever muscle aches, or headache, they need to contact the surgeon.
It will take a few days for the punctures to heal and a few weeks for the full recovery of the joint. A lot of patients can resume normal activities, which will include returning to work, a few days following the procedure. The patient may be suggested to do physical therapy in order to improve the functionality of the joint and speed recovery.
Although complications are rare with this surgery, there are a few that are possible, including:
Formation of clots
Blood vessel damage
Arthroscopic surgery is a good way to have problems in your joint diagnosed and treated. It’s a surgery that is usually done as an outpatient and most patients go home the same day.
Estimated Costs for Arthroscopy Surgery