Shoulder techniques have progressed to more minimally invasive procedures. As with knee surgery and gall bladder surgery, we expect in 5-10 years, very few surgeons will be performing common shoulder procedures using open techniques. Dr. Koo offers his patients the latest in arthroscopic (minimally invasive) shoulder techniques. Let’s look into what shoulder arthroscopy is all about.
What is Arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy is a way of performing common orthopedic procedures through a minimally invasive approach.
A small lens, called an arthroscope, is used to visualize the inside of the shoulder. The “scope” gives the surgeon a couple of advantages over open techniques. First, the shoulder is in a relatively tight space. When open incisions are used, visualization can be difficult simply due to the limitation in where the incision can be placed. Surgeons are often confined to a deep hole in which identification of the tissues can be extremely challenging. The scope, on the other hand, can be placed virtually anywhere allowing easy access to tight spaces using tiny incisions.
Second, anatomic structures in the shoulder are quite small. Modern arthroscopes display images on a LCD monitor in HD quality. Additionally, it magnifies the view so that objects appear bigger than they actually are. This gives the surgeon the feel of using a microscope without actually looking through one!
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Other Benefits of Arthroscopy
- Decreases pain from surgery
- Decreases the incident of stiffness after surgery
- Decreases blood loss
- Allows for earlier rehabilitation compared to open surgery.
What to expect
While much easier to recover from compared to “open” surgery, arthroscopy still requires the use of anesthesia in a hospital or surgery center setting. Most arthroscopic surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis and you can return home a few hours after the surgical procedure.
If the reasons above don’t convince you of the advantages of arthroscopy, consider this. Due to the infinite possibilities of arthroscopic instrumentation, even the most difficult procedures can be performed successfully using minimally invasive techniques. In fact, advances in shoulder techniques are happening at an incredibly fast pace. Truly, the limit is our own imagination.
What surgeries are done arthroscopically?
- Small to Massive Rotator Cuff tears. This includes PASTA type tears
- Most instability surgery including Bankart repair (anterior and posterior) SLAP, HAGL and remplissage
- Capsular releases
- Subacromial decompression for Impingement
- AC (acromioclavicular) joint reconstructions
- Distal Clavicle Excision
- Biceps tenodesis
- Superior Capsular Reconstruction
Watch more about Arthroscopy:
To learn more about shoulder arthroscopy, contact Dr. Samuel Koo at (425) 823-4000.