Signs That You Need Shoulder Arthroscopy

Jan 18, 2022 | Articles

Some Signs You Might Need Shoulder Arthroscopy

We all experience aches and pains in our joints occasionally, and these tend to become more frequent as we get older. When we are younger and more active, we often subject our bodies to excessive stress, resulting in sprains or dislocations requiring medical attention. However, most of the time, those painful symptoms clear up spontaneously or with the help of rest or painkillers. Occasionally, though, joint pain may persist despite such palliative measures. Persistent pain and swelling with diminished mobility in a joint between the upper arm and the scapula could signal the need for shoulder arthroscopy.

Shoulder Arthroscopy – The Procedure and When it May be NecessaryThe arthroscope is an instrument initially designed to provide the orthopaedic surgeon with a magnified view of the internal structure of a joint. For a while, its primary function was as a diagnostic aid, providing additional anatomical details not generally visible in an X-ray image. However, it was not long before enterprising surgeons began adapting the diagnostic procedure to perform some of their less complex orthopaedic interventions. Since then, the instrument has evolved, and surgeons have developed techniques to perform more complex operations without resorting to more traumatic open surgery. Today, shoulder arthroscopy is widely used as a minimally invasive alternative when repairing this complex joint.

Damage to the bones or cartilage of a joint, its soft tissues (such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments), or any associated nerves inevitably cause pain and swelling. Suppose these symptoms show no sign of subsiding after several days, or the pain keeps you awake at night, and even analgaesics do not seem to help. In that case, you may need to undergo surgery. Sometimes, however, pain is not the problem. For example, shoulder arthroscopy might also prove necessary if you have difficulty raising your arm beyond a certain point.

The location of the pain can provide a clue to its cause. When it is over the outside of the joint, extends down the arm, and presents as a deep muscle ache, it could be due to a rotator cuff problem such as a tear, tendonitis, or bursitis. Frontal pain could arise from a labral tear, while pain at the top of the shoulder is often associated with arthritis affecting the junction of the clavicle and scapula. All might indicate a need for surgery and can generally be performed using shoulder arthroscopy.

Although these procedures are well established, they can only be undertaken by a surgeon who has undergone the necessary specialist training in arthroscopic surgery and gained extensive practical experience. The orthopaedic department of the Life Wilgers HospitaI Pretoria is recognised locally and internationally as a centre of excellence by doctors referring patients for hip, knee, or shoulder arthroscopy.