Shoulder arthroscopy may be indicated if you have a painful condition that does not respond to nonsurgical treatment. Nonsurgical treatment includes rest, physical therapy, and medications or injections that can reduce inflammation and allow injured tissues to heal. Inflammation is one of your body's normal reactions to injury or disease. In an injured or diseased shoulder joint, inflammation causes swelling, pain, and stiffness.
Injury, overuse, and age-related wear and tear are responsible for most shoulder problems. Shoulder arthroscopy may relieve painful symptoms of many problems that damage the rotator cuff tendons, labrum, articular cartilage, and other soft tissues surrounding the joint.
Common arthroscopic procedures include:
Rotator cuff repair
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.
These photos taken through an arthroscope show a normal shoulder joint lining (left) and an inflamed joint lining caused by frozen shoulder.
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