Shoulder arthroscopy is a surgical procedure whereby the shoulder joint is examined and treated using a small incision and a small camera. Below is a description of what it involves, when it is done, the advantages, disadvantages, and the healing process.



1.     Anesthesia: General anesthesia or regional nerve blocks may be used.

2.     Positioning: The patient is then positioned either supine with the arm placed on a hand table in a beach chair position or lying on their side in the lateral decubitus position for better access to the shoulder joint.


1.     Incisions: Several small cuts (portals) are made in the shoulder area.

2.     Arthroscope Insertion: An arthroscope, a small camera, is inserted through one of the portals to visualize the joint.

3.     Instrument Insertion: More instruments are placed through other small incisions to carry out the required operations.


Shoulder arthroscopy is indicated for a variety of conditions, including:Shoulder arthroscopy is indicated for a variety of conditions, including:

·        Rotator cuff tears

·        Labral tears (SLAP lesions)

·        Impingement syndrome

·        Shoulder instability

·        Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)

·        Bursitis

·        Evacuation of loose fragments

·        Biceps tendon issues

·        Arthritis and osteoarthritis


·        Minimally Invasive: Less tissue is injured and less scarring occurs with the use of smaller incisions.

·        Reduced Pain: Usually less pain after the operation than in open surgery.

·        Faster Recovery: Faster healing process and less time off work or away from normal routine.

·        Outpatient Procedure: It is often done on an outpatient basis, thus decreasing the hospital stay.


·        Infection: While it is not common, any surgery that is done comes with a risk of infection.

·        Bleeding: Little bleeding should occur, however, significant bleeding may occur.

·        Nerve or Blood Vessel Injury: It also has a minor risk of causing injury to the surrounding nerves or blood vessels.

·        Stiffness: Stiffness may develop after the surgery and patient may require physiotherapy.

·        Incomplete Relief of Symptoms: Some patients may not get total relief from the symptoms.


Immediate Postoperative Period:

·        Pain Management: The pain is controlled through the use of drugs while ice packs can be used to minimize inflammation.

·        Immobilization: The arm is usually kept in a sling for a few days to weeks following the procedure.


·        Physical Therapy: A well-organized physical therapy regime is vital to regain the movements and strength.

·        Gradual Return to Activities: Patients return to the activities slowly, and the recovery process may take several months.


·        Routine check-up with the surgeon to assess the progress and review any issues.


Shoulder arthroscopy is an effective surgical procedure for diagnosing and treating various shoulder conditions. It is less invasive than other procedures, which means that patients can experience less pain and recover more quickly. But, like any surgery, it has its risks and benefits as well as the success of the surgery is often determined by the adherence to a strict rehabilitation plan.