Arthroscopic shoulder surgery is an advanced treatment procedure done around or inside the glenohumeral joint. When used during the diagnostic stage, it is referred to as arthroscopy. At the height of technological advancement, arthroscopy becomes a more reliable and sought after treatment for shoulder joint and tendon damages. Find out more about this surgical procedure here.
5 Things to Know About Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery
What Is Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery?
Arthroscopy is a process wherein a small instrument called an arthroscope is inserted into the body to examine and repair the joints. During surgery, doctors insert the arthroscope through a small incision near the affected shoulder joint. In some cases, it is done to perform rotator cuff tear surgery on a damaged tendon.
When Is Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery Necessary?
The rotator cuff is a part of the shoulder that helps it to move in different directions. Muscles and tendons that make up the rotator cuff connect the joints of the arms and the shoulders together. Due to the fibrous materials with which tendons and muscles are made of, they are more prone to wear and tear. When this wear and tear happens and is aggravated, surgery may be needed.
Rotator Cuff Tear Surgery Procedure Overview:
- Doctors insert the arthroscope at the shoulder to gauge the gravity of the tear.
- They remove damaged tissue during the process.
- They attach the torn tendons and muscles together with the bones through metal or plastic anchors.
This procedure will help relieve the discomfort, but there are instances when the shoulder does not regain its former strength.
Why Do I Still Feel Discomfort Even After the Surgery?
It is still common to feel discomfort post-surgery. As with any other major surgeries, shoulder arthroscopy requires a recovery period. Medicinal and non-medicinal treatments can be good options to get relief.
How Do I Deal with the Post-Surgery Recovery Period?
The recovery time for arthroscopic shoulder surgery is about two to four weeks. Here are some helpful tips during the recovery period:
Rest is key to a fast and full recovery. When lying down, put a small pillow under the arm to support the shoulder and to avoid unconsciously moving it too much during sleep.
- Use a sling
The arms may still be numb for the first two days after the surgery. The use of a sling provides comfort to the shoulder. Applying a cold compress also helps relieve the discomfort until the swelling decreases.
- Limit physical activities
There is a limit to the type and frequency of physical activities an arthroscopic patient can do. Sudden movements of the shoulders may strain and tear the treated area.
- Physical therapy
During the rehabilitation period, patients must rest and perform minimal exercises. Some others, on the other hand, need to undergo physical therapy. The sessions will help enhance mobility and improve muscle strength through active and passive exercises.
- Keep the wound clean and dry
It is important to keep the wound of the incision clean and dry to avoid infection. When taking a shower, cover the wounded area. Replace the bandages once in a while to keep the wound clean.
- Hand exercises
For patients who need to undergo post-operative physical therapies, it is important to begin hand exercises immediately to avoid muscle stiffness. Start by moving the fingers and pumping the wrist once in a while to keep the blood circulation flowing.
- Diet and exercise
More importantly, proper diet and appropriate physical exercise can contribute to a faster recovery. An active body is more capable of repairing itself. With a healthy and well-nourished body, it has the physical strength need to regain full mobility of the shoulder.
Where Can I Go for Arthroscopic Shoulder Medication?
Informed medication is always better and safer than self-medication. Post-surgery medications may help provide added relief to the treated area. These include the following:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Corticosteroid injections
To learn more about rotator cuff surgery, here is a more in-depth explanation from the Ohio State Medical Center:
Any form of discomfort affects a person’s daily living. Informed and immediate treatment will help one regain normal functioning. With the help of technological advancements, procedures such as arthroscopy may become even more sophisticated and dependable forms of treatment in the future.
Have you ever had to undergo arthroscopic shoulder surgery? Share your story with us in the comments section below!
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