What is Arthroscopy and how is it useful in repairing rotator cuff injuries in the shoulder?
Arthroscopic rotator cuff reconstruction is a minimally invasive surgery to repair torn tendons in the shoulder.
How is it done?
Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair generally takes between one and two hours. It usually be performed under general anesthesia which means you will sleep through the surgery. An arthroscope is like a thin telescope with a light source used to magnify the structures inside the injured area of the shoulder allowing evaluation and treatment. After evaluating the shoulder joint using the arthroscopic camera, the surgeon can introduce surgical instruments via very few small incisions in the skin surrounding the shoulder to clean out damaged tissue, remove bone spurs, and reattach damaged tendons to the bones where they have torn off. Patients undergoing arthroscopic surgery can have varying diagnoses and pre-existing conditions. Surgeries vary widely and are patient specific.
Why is it done?
Rotator cuff repair relieves shoulder pain caused by torn ligaments, bone spurs, or inflammation around the rotator cuff.
The above procedure was performed by Dr. Panya Wongpatimachai - more details of the procedure can be seen on the YouTube page.
Risks & complications
Although rare, complications do occur during or following arthroscopy. They include the possibility of:
- Accidental damage to structures inside or near to the joint
- Nerve injury
- Excessive bleeding inside the joint which can cause swelling and pain
- Infection within the joint
- Reaction to anesthesia
Risks can be reduced by following the surgeon's instructions before and after surgery.
The surgeon may discuss alternative approaches to arthroscopic surgery. Cortisone injections and physical therapy are often recommended. Alternative surgical techniques known as ‘open’ and ‘mini open’ surgical repair may be indicated in cases where arthroscopic surgery is not viable.
The best candidates for arthroscopic rotator cuff repair are healthy adults with no previous surgeries or scarring in the area being treated. The surgeon will make the final determination of each patient’s eligibility for the procedure after an examination and consultation with the patient.