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Shoulder arthroscopy is a surgical procedure in which the orthopedist makes a small access in the shoulder skin and inserts a small optic, to evaluate the internal structures of the shoulder, such as bones, tendons and ligaments, for example and perform the indicated treatments. Thus, performing a minimally invasive surgery.
Usually, arthroscopy is used in cases of acute and chronic shoulder injuries that do not improve with the use of medication and physical therapy, serving as a form of diagnostic complementation. That is, through this procedure, the orthopedist can confirm the previous diagnosis made through other complementary exams, such as magnetic resonance imaging or ultrasound, and perform, at the same time, the treatment, if necessary.
Some of the treatments performed through arthroscopy are:
- Repair of ligaments, in case of rupture;
- Removing inflamed tissue;
- Removing loose cartilage;
- Frozen shoulder treatment;
- Evaluation and treatment of shoulder instability.
However, if the problem is more serious, such as a fracture or complete rupture of the ligaments, it may be necessary to schedule a traditional surgery, with arthroscopy only serving to diagnose the problem.
What is recovery from arthroscopy like
Shoulder arthroscopy recovery time is significantly faster than traditional surgery, but may vary by injury and procedure. In addition, arthroscopy has a greater advantage in relation to healing, as there are no extensive cuts, which makes scars smaller.
During the postoperative period it is very important to follow all the doctor's instructions, and some of the most important precautions include:
- Use the arm immobilization recommended by the orthopedist, for the indicated time;
- Do not exert effort with the arm on the operated side;
- Take painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications prescribed by your doctor;
- Sleep with the head of the bed raised and sleep on the other shoulder;
- Apply ice or gel packs to the shoulder during the 1st week, taking care of surgical wounds.
Furthermore, it is still very important to start physical therapy 2 or 3 weeks after arthroscopy to regain full range of motion and joint range.
Possible risks of shoulder arthroscopy
This is a very safe surgical procedure, however, like any other surgery, it has a low risk of infection, bleeding, or damage to blood vessels or nerves.
To reduce the chances of these complications, you should select a qualified and certified professional, especially an orthopedist specializing in shoulder and elbow surgery.