The shoulder has two joints made up of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage.
- The main shoulder joint is the glenohumeral joint. This is where the humerus meets the shoulder blade.
- The other joint is the acromioclavicular or AC joint (the so-called shoulder pointer). This is where the end of the collarbone (clavicle) meets the shoulder blade.
- The rotator cuff is made of four muscles and their tendons. The rotator cuff makes it possible to raise and rotate the arm.
Shoulder pain can be caused by one or more problems in the shoulder joints and/or rotator cuff.
A shoulder arthroscopy with partial claviculectomy is a surgical procedure that uses small medical instruments and a camera to examine the shoulder joint and remove a small piece of bone from the clavicle.
- The instruments are inserted into the shoulder joint through small incisions made in the shoulder.
- Removing some of the bone at the end of the collarbone (about a half-inch or so) can help relieve symptoms related to arthritis of the AC joint.
- The partial claviculectomy can also be done through one small incision in the shoulder.
- Talk to your surgeon about which approach is best for you.
Shoulder pain, weakness and stiffness are examples of shoulder problems that can prevent the shoulder joint from working properly.
- Not all shoulder complaints require surgery.
- Occasionally arthritis of the AC joint occurs without other shoulder joint problems. This can happen especially if there is prior injury or trauma to the joint.
- Some examples of these types of injuries or traumas include separation of the shoulder or dislocation of the AC joint. In these cases, open shoulder surgery or arthroscopy may be needed.
In many cases, there are some simple things you can try at home to help relieve shoulder pain.
- Rest the affected arm and shoulder for a day or two.
- Apply ice to the shoulder to reduce the inflammation and pain. Do not use ice longer than 15 minutes at a time and do not apply ice directly to your skin.
- Your healthcare provider may recommend over-the-counter medications to help with your pain. These can include pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications.
- Over the counter medications can cause side effects and interfere with other medications you are taking. Talk to your healthcare provider about which one is right for you.
If your symptoms persist with non-surgical approaches (physical therapy, exercises and medication) your healthcare provider may recommend imaging studies (x-rays or MRI) or surgery.
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:
- Medications you should not take before the surgery, such as blood thinners
- Regular medications you should take on the day of your surgery
- How many hours you should stop eating and drinking before surgeryIf 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.
- General anesthesia is a common type of anesthesia for a shoulder arthroscopy.
- This is where you are put into a deep sleep and are unable to see, hear or feel anything.
You will probably go home the day of your surgery. After surgery, your shoulder may be in an immobilizer and your arm in a sling for a short time. Exactly how long your arm is immobilized depends on the extent of the surgery.
- Physical therapy may be recommended for several weeks after surgery. This is to improve your shoulder strength and mobility.
- You may also need pain medication and help at home while you recover.
- Do not forget to arrange for transportation to and from the facility and help at home.
What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a shoulder arthroscopy and clavicle resection?
- What are my treatment options? Is non-surgical treatment an option? If so, what kind?
- Which shoulder surgery are you recommending and why? What are the benefits and risks of each?
- What are the pros and cons of surgery? What if I prefer non-surgical treatment? How long should I try non-surgical treatment before revisiting the option of surgery?
- What are the possible complications to the surgery?
- What can I expect if I decide not to have this surgery?
- Will I be receiving other treatments before or after my surgery?
- Do I need to fast before the surgery? If so, for how long?
- Is there any other special preparation for the surgery? (If so, get clear instructions on what you need to do.)
- What is your experience in doing this type of surgery? What is your complication rate?
- How long will it take me to recover? How will I feel after the surgery? Will I have to modify my activity?
After your surgery, you should:
- Know what you had done
- Know what symptoms to report to your healthcare provider
- Understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans.