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Shoulder Arthroscopy
Arthritis & Orthopedic Medical Clinic - San Jose, Los Gatos & Fremont, CA



Shoulder Arthroscopy

Whether you’re a weekend warrior, professional athlete, or labor worker, a shoulder injury can have a devastating effect on your everyday activities. With traditional open shoulder surgery, recovery can take months and you may need to wear a sling for a long time. Through arthroscopy, the doctors at Arthritis & Orthopedic Medical Clinic are able to repair the damage through a small incision and a camera, minimizing the recovery needed to getting back to what you love.

The doctors at Arthritis & Orthopedic Medical Clinic approach treatment as a partnership between the doctor and patient. Each physician believes in this philosophy of shared decision making—your doctor will walk you through the treatment options, process, and recovery so you know what to expect every step of the way.

Common Questions

What is arthroscopic shoulder surgery?

The word arthroscopy comes from two Greek words which literally mean “to look within the joint”—"arthro" (joint) and "skopein” (to look).

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery used to repair a joint, cartilage, or ligament. Through a very small incision and using pencil-thin instruments with small fiber optic cables, the repair is performed without relying on open surgery. It is far less traumatic and requires less recovery time than traditional open surgery.

Who needs shoulder arthroscopy?

When an injury or condition doesn’t respond well to nonsurgical treatment, such as rest, physical therapy, medication, or injections, the doctors at Arthritis & Orthopedic Medical Clinic will consider arthroscopic surgery.

Our shoulder arthroscopy patients are often suffering from rotator cuff or tendonitis injuries. Shoulder arthroscopy can also remove bone spurs, remove or repair the labrum, repair ligaments, remove inflamed tissue or loose cartilage, or prevent recurrent shoulder dislocation. If you’re suffering from a shoulder injury or condition, talk to the doctors at Arthritis & Orthopedic Medical Clinic—we strive to get your injury fixed without major surgery or a long recovery time.

How does shoulder arthroscopy work?

Generally, arthroscopic surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure. Prior to the surgery, your doctor will provide you with comprehensive materials on preparing for it and what to expect.

To perform the surgery, very small incisions are made in the shoulder and pencil-thin instruments are threaded through the incisions. These are guided with small fiber optic cables to the point of injury, where they perform the repair. An arthroscope, threaded through one of the incisions, is used to see the injury and perform the repair without having to make a large incision.

These days, arthroscopy has all but replaced open procedures, which are far more traumatic and require longer recovery time.

How long does arthroscopic surgery take?

Most shoulder arthroscopy procedures take about an hour, but this may vary depending on your individual case. Your doctor will talk with you about your individual care plan so you’ll know what to expect prior to arriving for treatment.

Is arthroscopy painful?

Arthroscopy involves very small incisions, so there’s less healing to do and less discomfort than traditional open surgery. The specialists of Arthritis & Orthopedic Medical Clinic use anesthesia and sedation to make sure you feel no pain during the procedure, and you’ll be back to full functionality within a week or so.

Will I be numb for my shoulder arthroscopy?

Yes, the specialists of Arthritis & Orthopedic Medical Clinic use anesthesia and sedation to make sure you feel no pain during the procedure. However, the need for anesthesia and sedation will vary from patient to patient. You and your doctor will decide together which course of action is best for your case.

Will I need pain medication after a shoulder arthroscopy procedure?

Some patients experience tenderness during the recovery period, but our doctors can help you decide between several options for pain reduction. Most patients will take over-the-counter pain medications such as Tylenol or Advil for a week or so post-surgery. We recommend, if possible, using ice to minimize the amount of medication needed.

How long does recovery from arthroscopic shoulder surgery take?

While every patient is different, the recovery period from arthroscopic surgery typically lasts about a week. You’ll be back to doing what you love as quickly as possible!

When can I schedule my shoulder arthroscopy?

We offer same-day appointments and emergency care, when necessary. Any diagnostic services required are also offered in the office. So if you’re injured and anxious to get right back out there, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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