Procedure for Shoulder Arthroscopy



Shoulder arthroscopy is a procedure which helps to inspect, diagnose and repair any problems in the shoulder joint. The word arthroscopy is derived from Greek-Arthros (joint) and skopein (to look). The procedure can be performed under local anesthesia (nerve block) with sedation. It is done in the following steps:

  • Fluid is injected into the shoulder joint to make it swell up and helping in visualizing the internal structures properly
  • A small button hole is made to insert the arthroscope which is like a telescope, the size of pen. It is a tiny camera which visualizes the inside of your shoulder joint and identifies the structures to be repaired. The images from the camera are visualized on a video screen.
  • Separate tiny cuts are made 1-2 cm long to insert tiny instruments to perform the procedure that needs to be done.

What is the Average Length of Stay for Shoulder Arthroscopy Surgery?

The Shoulder arthroscopy procedure is completed within an hour and hence there is no need for hospital stay.

Shoulder Arthroscopy Indications

Shoulder arthroscopy is used commonly for:

  • Rotator cuff repair
  • Removal of bony spurs
  • Removal or repair of the labrum
  • Ligament repair
  • Removal of inflamed tissue or cartilage
  • Repair for recurrent dislocation of shoulder

Less commonly for

  • Nerve release
  • Fracture repair
  • Cyst removal

Shoulder Arthroscopy Risks

Some complications involved in the shoulder arthroscopy are:


  • Pain
  • Soft tissue or rarely nerve or blood vessel injury
  • Infection


  • Stiffness
  • Recurrence of the condition

Post-Operative Care

Though the patient can go home after Shoulder arthroscopy surgery in 2-3 hours, active movements at the shoulder should be avoided for about 2 weeks. Passive physiotherapy and movement should be done as per your doctor’s advice. Medications for pain may be required for a few days.

Post Discharge

  • Physiotherapy and resumption of active movement only under doctors advise. Immobilization and an arm sling are usually advised
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Strict control of blood sugar or hypertension


Q. Can arthroscopy be done for all procedures on the shoulder?

A. No. Extensive procedures like fractures, injuries and joint replacement will require open surgery.

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