Shoulder Arthroscopy

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An Overview on Shoulder Arthroscopy

Shoulder arthroscopy is a widely used minimally invasive procedure used for inspection, diagnosis and treatment of certain injuries in and around the shoulder joint. In particular, soft tissue damage including damage of the labrum (cup-shaped rim of cartilage) is managed through arthroscopic shoulder surgery. This surgery involves an arthroscope (tiny camera) as well as specially designed, thin surgical instruments to inspect and repair the  complex soft tissue structures of the shoulder following an injury or degenerative condition. Vail, Aspen, and Denver, Colorado orthopedic shoulder surgeon, Dr. Matthew Provencher uses arthroscopic surgery to treat a variety of shoulder conditions and return patients to an active lifestyle in a quicker amount of time with minimal postoperative pain.

By using this minimally invasive approach, Dr. Provencher is able to create tiny holes in and around the damaged area to enter and carefully inspect the joint. As opposed to open shoulder surgery, arthroscopic surgery features much less postoperative pain and faster recovery time with a similar outcome to open surgery following treatment. After examining the damage and confirming his diagnosis, Dr. Provencher uses specially designed, thin instruments to manipulate and repair the shoulder joint.

The majority of arthroscopic shoulder surgery cases performed by Dr. Provencher and his orthopedic team are completed under regional or general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. Moreover, most shoulder arthroscopic procedures are completed in less than one hour.

Shoulder arthroscopy treats a number of shoulder conditions through a minimally invasive approach, including:

  • Chronic shoulder subluxations/dislocation or shoulder instability
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Shoulder fractures
  • Shoulder impingement
  • AC joint injuries
  • SC joint injuries
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Shoulder arthritis

Recovery and Rehabilitation Following Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery

Patients can expect the repaired joint to heal in four to six weeks following shoulder arthroscopy. Although recovery time is much quicker with this minimally invasive approach than open surgery, it still takes the joint time to heal after the injury and surgical procedure. Patients should plan to take a few rest days with no work and activities to allow the shoulder to recover early on in the recovery process. During the healing process, it is absolutely important all patients follow the post-operative and rehabilitation protocols provided by Dr. Provencher and his team.

Patients are strongly encouraged to begin the daily rehabilitation protocols immediately following arthroscopic shoulder surgery, even on the first day of surgery in many cases. Dr. Provencher will provide all patients with a detailed rehabilitation outline designed to increase the shoulder’s range of motion and overall function. Strict abidingness of the rehabilitation protocol provided by Dr. Provencher and his team is critical to full recovery.

Following shoulder arthroscopy, patients can expect some level of discomfort, pain and swelling in and around the repaired joint. Dr. Provencher typically recommends icing or a cooling pad to help alleviate pain and swelling following the procedure. Moreover, all patients are expected to follow pain medication guidelines provided by Dr. Provencher at all times.

To learn more about your shoulder injury or condition, or for more resources on arthroscopic shoulder surgery, please contact the Vail, Aspen, and Denver, Colorado office of shoulder surgeon Dr. Matthew Provencher.

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