Shoulder arthroscopic surgery

Shoulder arthroscopy is surgery that uses a tiny camera called an arthroscope to examine or repair the tissues inside or around your shoulder joint. The arthroscope is inserted through a small cut (incision) in your skin.

Which are the conditions where shoulder arthroscopy may be necessary?

Your doctor may recommend shoulder arthroscopy 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. 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 instability (recurrent dislocation of shoulder)
    Impingement syndrome (pain on lifting the arm)
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Calcific tendonitis tendinitis (calcium deposition in the rotator cuff)
  • SLAP tears
  • Tears of long head of biceps tendon
  • Frozen shoulder (periarthritis)
  • Removal of loose bodies
  • Synovectomy  for: – destruction or surgical removal of the membrane (synovium) that lines a joint.
    • Inflammatory conditions like RA
    • Infections (like TB)
    • Synovial chondromatosis


Your surgeon will first inject fluid into the shoulder to inflate the joint. This makes it easier to see all the structures of your shoulder through the arthroscope. Then your surgeon will make a small puncture in your shoulder (about the size of a buttonhole) for the arthroscope. Fluid flows through the arthroscope to keep the view clear and control any bleeding. Images from the arthroscope are projected on the video screen showing your surgeon the inside of your shoulder and any damage.

Once the problem is clearly identified, your surgeon will insert other small instruments through separate incisions to repair it. Specialized instruments are used for tasks like shaving, cutting, grasping, suture passing, and knot tying. In many cases, special devices are used to anchor stitches into bone.

Your surgeon may close your incisions with stitches or steri-strips (small Band-Aids) and cover them with a large, soft bandage.