Shoulder problems are among the most frustrating experiences because they cause pain and can severely limit motion. Everyday activities heavily depend on joint motion. Having a limitation caused by injuries, inflammations, or wear and tear negatively impacts the ability to perform the simplest tasks. Arthroscopy is a type of surgery that examines and repairs tissues in joint areas like the shoulder, knee, elbow and others. It is performed using a small camera inserted through small incisions (about 1 centimeter each) for examination.
What Shoulder Problems Call for Arthroscopy?
- Rotator Cuff Tears: There are various treatment methods for rotator cuff issues, including both open surgeries and arthroscopic procedures. Arthroscopic procedures’ technology is rapidly improving and is associated with fewer complications than open surgery. This is one of the most frequently performed surgeries by shoulder specialists.
- Labral tears: Superior Labrum and Bankart tears are the most common forms of Labral tears. Injuries to some of these can cause shoulder instability and sometimes should be fixed to prevent further pain and problems.
- Biceps Tendonitis: A procedure is carried out to remove the diseased portion and reattach the tendon to relieve pain caused by biceps injury.
- Shoulder Bursitis: Patients with shoulder bursitis that do not improve with conservative treatments should consider arthroscopy to remove the inflamed tissue and remove bone spurs from other tissues that are impinging on the rotator cuff tendons. This is commonly referred to as Subacromial Impingement. This is commonly performed alongside other procedures such as rotator cuff repair.
- AC Joint Arthritis: The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is what connects the collarbone to the shoulder blade, and can become inflamed due to cartilage breaking down over time as a result of over-use. When arthritis becomes unbearable, part of the clavicle can be removed, creating a gap between the bones so there is no contact between the bones, thus relieving pain.
- Frozen Shoulder: Treatment of frozen shoulder typically does not call for operative treatment until proven severe or longstanding. Our team will typically start with physical therapy and other non-surgical methods before performing surgery on a frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder surgery usually removes adhesions inside the shoulder to allow for better movement and a rapid decrease of pain.
Rotator cuff tears and other shoulder problems can be painful and disabling. Although tears frequently occur from injuries, many cases occur gradually from wear and tear over time. When treatment is needed beyond physical therapy, Dr. Steven S. Goldberg, MD, can help by evaluating your unique situation with a consultation and performing treatment as needed, including arthroscopy.
An arthroscopic procedure begins with administering anesthesia, typically starting with a regional anesthetic, where the arm is made completely numb just prior to the patient being put to sleep. Once the patient is fully anesthetized, then Dr. Goldberg makes an incision to insert the arthroscope, a tiny medical device with a camera on the end. We perform a full examination of the tissues in the shoulder before beginning any repair or removal. Depending on the surgery being performed, the procedure usually takes between 30 and 90 minutes. After the procedure, Dr. Goldberg will provide detailed instructions on the dos and don’ts for recovery and physical therapy. Patients typically wake up from surgery with minimal pain because the arm was numbed and will go home the same day. They can begin to perform simple tasks, such as writing or texting, the next day. Most patients will be given a prescription for pain medicine, typically only used for a few days post-surgery.
How Am I Supposed to Sleep After Arthroscopy?
Most patients feel comfortable by sleeping at a 45-degree angle, although this is not mandatory. Lying flat on the back adds pressure on the shoulder and can cause undue strain when you get up. This can be done in a reclining chair, couch, or even your bed if it is adjustable. Putting a pillow behind the affected elbow will keep the arm in front and minimize pain. Whenever you feel you are ready to lay flat, you may do so.
Apply a Cold Pack as Needed
Using ice or a cold compress according to Dr. Goldberg’s instructions on the shoulder for 15-20 minutes per hour can offer relief from pain and inflammation in the treatment area. Frozen vegetable bags from the grocery store work well and can mold to the shape of your shoulder. Put a towel between the cold pack and your skin to avoid frostbite.
Wear a Sling
Nobody likes wearing a sling, but in many cases, it is done to protect the repair after surgery and prevent reinjury. Wearing a sling minimizes pressure on the affected area and prevents you from moving your arms to painful positions as you sleep.
Shoulder Surgery in Naples, FL
When your shoulder is in chronic pain or is not responding to non-surgical treatments, a shoulder arthroscopy may help. This minimally invasive procedure is effective and ensures faster healing for a wide variety of shoulder problems that aren’t responsive to other treatments. Dr. Steven Goldberg has performed over 2,000 arthroscopic procedures, giving him excellent experience on top of his board-certified credentials. Call us at (239) 316-7600 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today to start on the path to pain-free living.