Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique that involves several small incisions into which a fiber-optic device (arthroscope) and tiny surgical instruments are inserted. Orthopaedic surgeons can diagnose and treat many different shoulder conditions with arthroscopy, while patients can benefit from less tissue damage, shorter recovery times, less scarring and less post-operative pain. This technique also avoids cutting any muscles or tendons in order to gain access to the affected area.
Shoulder arthroscopy is often performed to confirm a diagnosis after a physical examination and other imaging procedures have been performed. Some conditions can also be treated during the same procedure by inserting a few additional instruments into the joint area.
Arthroscopy can be used to treat many conditions that affect the shoulder joint. Shoulder arthroscopy, also known as shoulder scope, can be used to treat:
- Rotator cuff tears
- Labral tears
- Impingement syndrome
- Biceps tendonitis
- AC joint arthritis
While arthroscopy offers many benefits over a traditional open procedure, it is not for everybody. Some conditions, especially those that are not easily visible with the arthroscopic camera, may be better suited for traditional surgery. Your doctor will decide which type of procedure is right for you.