This surgery uses small instruments and a camera to examine the shoulder joint and repair a torn tendon in the rotator cuff.
The shoulder is made up of three joints. The joints are known as the acromioclavicular, sternoclavicular and glenohumeral joints. The glenohumeral joint is the main joint and is what most people think of as the shoulder joint. It is made up of:
The glenohumeral joint is a ball-and-socket joint.
The structure and functions of the shoulder joints make it prone to injury, degeneration and pain. Shoulder pain is a very common complaint. It may be caused by problems with either the glenohumeral or acromioclavicular joints. These problems are most often caused by:
A shoulder arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that uses small medical instruments and a camera to look inside the shoulder joint. The instruments are inserted into the shoulder joint through small incisions made in different areas of the shoulder. A shoulder arthroscopy with rotator cuff repair is done to diagnose and repair a torn tendon. Not all rotator cuff tendon tears require surgery. The decision whether to have surgery depends on many factors including the:
There are times when the surgeon cannot repair the tendon through the arthroscope. In those cases, the repair will need to be done through a larger incision in the upper shoulder.
A tear in one of the tendons of the rotator cuff can cause:
Not all rotator cuff tendon tears cause significant shoulder complaints and may not require surgery. Many of these injuries improve significantly or even resolve over time. Conservative treatments you can try at home to relieve shoulder pain include:
Your healthcare provider may also recommend over-the-counter pain medications. These can include:
Sometimes, these medications can cause side effects and interfere with other medications you are taking. Ask your healthcare provider which one is right for you.
If your symptoms persist, your healthcare provider may recommend imaging studies (x-rays or an MRI). A shoulder arthroscopy and repair of a torn tendon may be recommended if someone has:
Prior to surgery, tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before surgery. These may include:
If you are a smoker, you should quit smoking, as it can interfere with your recovery.
During your arthroscopy, you will receive anesthesia to keep you comfortable and pain free.
What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a shoulder arthroscopy and rotator cuff repair?
What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a shoulder arthroscopy and labral lesion repair?
Do not forget to arrange for transportation to and from the facility and for help at home.
Before you go home, make sure you understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects), what symptoms you should report to your healthcare provider after discharge and follow-up plans. Your surgeon should also communicate with your primary care physician.
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