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Shoulder Arthroscopy


Arthroscopic, or minimally invasive shoulder surgery, can help get you back to the level of activity that you are accustomed. Dr. Rawal and his team explain all of the different treatment options and make knowledgeable recommendations for your particular case.

What is Shoulder Arthroscopy?

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, arthroscopic surgery became popular, especially in the sports world, as fiber-optic technology enabled surgeons to see inside the body using a small telescope, called an “arthroscope,” which projects an image to a television monitor. Thanks to ongoing improvements made by technology, arthroscopic surgery is now accessible to more people than just professional athletes. In fact, active patients all over the world have experienced the benefits of minimally invasive surgical procedures. Through an incision the width of a straw tip, the surgeon is able to insert an arthroscope that allows him to inspect your joint and locate the source of your pain. The arthroscope can also help identify tears or other damage that may have been missed by an X-ray or MRI. The surgeon will then make one or more small incisions to accommodate the instruments used to repair the shoulder. These instruments can shave, trim, cut, stitch, or smooth the damaged areas. Arthroscopic shoulder surgery is often performed in an outpatient surgery center, which means no overnight hospital stay is required. You report to Stoughton Hospital in the morning, undergo the procedure, and following a recovery period under the care of medical professionals, return home later in the day.

Minimally Invasive Shoulder Surgery

Minimally invasive shoulder surgery is considered when all other conservative measures have failed. It is a positive measure to regain the active lifestyle that a painful shoulder is preventing.

Rotator Cuff Repair

In a rotator cuff repair procedure, the physician will begin by inspecting the shoulder joint. Then he will inspect the subacromial bursa, a small cushioning sac of fluid that surrounds the joint, followed by the rotator cuff itself. Arthroscopic shaver blades are used to clear away scar tissue, to shape the under side of the acromion (the bone at the top of the shoulder), and to smooth the edges of the cuff tear. Once the joint has been prepared, small anchors are attached to the bone. Sutures are passed through the edge of the tissue, and the anchors are used to hold the suture in place.

Shoulder Instability

For years, shoulder instability has been treated with open surgery to repair the torn lip of the glenoid socket, called the “labrum.” Many surgeons now believe that instability is associated with more than just labral tears. Using minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques, the surgeon will have access to the entire joint. As a result, he can examine all potential tears and will base the method of repair (arthroscopic and sometimes open) on this thorough inspection. The arthroscopic repair is done using small incisions, which typically means your recovery is quicker and less painful. To repair shoulder instability, the surgeon will attach anchors to the bone, then will pass sutures through the tissue. The anchors hold the suture in place. In many cases, these anchors are bioabsorbable and are gradually absorbed in the body over time (within three to five years following the procedure), rather than permanently residing in the bone. The surgeon may tighten the joint capsule using suture.

Arthroscopic shoulder surgery can relieve pain, improve joint stability, repair tears and damage, maximize quality of life and optimize activities of daily living.

Who is a Candidate for Shoulder Arthroscopy?

Patients with shoulder pain or limited shoulder function may be candidates for arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Most people who suffer from a shoulder injury and who have not found the relief they need through non-operative treatments may benefit from a minimally invasive surgical procedure.

Our focus is on returning you to your previous normal activity level, whether that be in a sporting activity, work situation or just activities of daily living.

Non-Surgical Options

There are some non-operative, conservative options to consider for the treatment of a rotator cuff tear or shoulder instability.


Physical Therapy

Helps the shoulder to regain normal motion and strengthens muscles.

Ice Packs

Reduce swelling while resting the arm.

Anti-inflammatory Medications

Decrease swelling in the joint and provide temporary pain relief. Please note, however, that all medications have risks and should only be taken under the direction of your physician.

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