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Arthroscopic Evaluation of Shoulder Joint

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What is Arthoscopic Surgery? 

Arthroscopy (also called arthroscopic surgery) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure on a joint in which an examination and sometimes treatment of damage is performed using an arthroscope, an endoscope that is inserted into the joint through a small incision. Arthroscopic procedures can be performed to evaluate or treat many orthopedic conditions including torn cartilage (known by health professionals as “meniscus”), torn surface (articular) cartilage, ACL reconstruction, and trimming damaged cartilage.

The advantage over traditional open surgery is that the joint does not have to be opened up fully. For knee arthroscopy only two small incisions are made, one for the arthroscope and one for the surgical instruments to be used in the knee cavity. This reduces recovery time and may increase the rate of success due to less trauma to the connective tissue. It is especially useful for professional athletes, who frequently injure knee joints and require fast healing time. There is also less scarring, because of the smaller incisions. Irrigation fluid is used to distend the joint and make a surgical space. Sometimes this fluid leaks (extravasates) into the surrounding soft tissue, causing edema.

What is Shoulder Arthroscopy?

Your shoulder is a complex joint that is capable of more motion than any other joint in your body. It is made up of three bones: your upper arm bone (humerus), your shoulder blade (scapula), and your collarbone (clavicle).

shoulder-anatomyBall and socket. The head of your upper arm bone fits into a rounded socket in your shoulder blade. This socket is called the glenoid. A slippery tissue called articular cartilage covers the surface of the ball and the socket. It creates a smooth, frictionless surface that helps the bones glide easily across each other.

The glenoid is ringed by strong fibrous cartilage called the labrum. The labrum forms a gasket around the socket, adds stability, and cushions the joint.

Shoulder capsule. The joint is surrounded by bands of tissue called ligaments. They form a capsule that holds the joint together. The undersurface of the capsule is lined by a thin membrane called the synovium. It produces synovial fluid that lubricates the shoulder joint.

Rotator cuff. Four tendons surround the shoulder capsule and help keep your arm bone centered in your shoulder socket. This thick tendon material is called the rotator cuff. The cuff covers the head of the humerus and attaches it to your shoulder blade.

Bursa. There is a lubricating sac called a bursa between the rotator cuff and the bone on top of your shoulder (acromion). The bursa helps the rotator cuff tendons glide smoothly when you move your arm.

What happens during arthoscopic surgery? 

During arthroscopic surgery, the doctor will examine the rim and the biceps tendon. If the injury is confined to the rim itself, without involving the tendon, the shoulder is still stable. The surgeon will remove the torn flap and correct any other associated problems. If the tear extends into the biceps tendon or if the tendon is detached, the shoulder is unstable. The surgeon will need to repair and reattach the tendon using absorbable tacks, wires, or sutures.

Tears below the middle of the socket are also associated with shoulder instability. The surgeon will reattach the ligament and tighten the shoulder socket by folding over and “pleating” the tissues.

Types of arthroscopic surgeries on shoulder:

Common arthroscopic procedures include:

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

Less common procedures such as nerve release, fracture repair, and cyst excision can also be performed using an arthroscope. Some surgical procedures, such as shoulder replacement, still require open surgery with more extensive incisions.Follow us on social media: