Shoulder Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a procedure that orthopaedic surgeons use to inspect, diagnose, and repair problems inside a joint.

The word arthroscopy comes from two Greek words, “arthro” (joint) and “skopein” (to look). The term literally means “to look within the joint.” During shoulder arthroscopy, your surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into your shoulder joint. The camera displays pictures on a television screen, and your surgeon uses these images to guide miniature surgical instruments. Because the arthroscope and surgical instruments are thin, your surgeon can use very small incisions (cuts), rather than the larger incision needed for standard, open surgery. This results in less pain for patients, and shortens the time it takes to recover and return to favorite activities.Shoulder arthroscopy has been performed since the 1970s. It has made diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from surgery easier and faster than was once thought possible.

Improvements to shoulder arthroscopy occur every year as new instruments and techniques are developed.

Shoulder Replacement & Revision

Fortunately, revision surgery after prosthetic shoulder arthroplasty is rarely required. However, various complications or combinations of complications can lead to the need for revision surgery. For many of these, several treatment options are possible. Recognizing all the problems that contributed to failure in an individual patient may be difficult before revision surgery. Understanding the abnormality present at the time of surgery requires considerable experience. For example, glenoid loosening, in addition to being accompanied by scapular bone loss, may be associated with rotator-cuff tearing, instability, or joint contracture. In addition to the component loosening, all of these must also be treated if the revision procedure is to be successful. When addressing glenoid loosening, it seems to be best to revise the component, if possible.

If there is extreme bone loss, one may have to bone graft the deficiencies and not replace the glenoid component. Fortunately,
clinically significant humeral loosening is rare. When it occurs, revision of the component is justified and almost always possible. In hemiarthroplasties with pain, conversion to a total shoulder arthroplasty by placing a glenoid component is highly effective. In instability after shoulder arthroplasty, soft-tissue repair does not always create stability. Unfortunately, for most patients, component revision is a necessary part of the revision surgery. When rotator-cuff tearing is acute, repair is indicated; for chronic rotator-cuff tearing, repair depends on the severity of the symptoms. When infection develops after shoulder arthroplasty, implant removal is almost always necessary, but occasionally, in low-grade infections, a primary or secondary exchange procedure may be possible.

Treatment of Shoulder Fractures

Trauma to the shoulder is common. Injuries range from a separated shoulder resulting from a fall onto the shoulder to a high-speed car accident that fractures the shoulder blade (scapula) or collar bone (clavicle). One thing is certain: everyone injures his or her shoulder at some point in life.

Treatment Options

Clavicle Fractures

Most clavicle fractures can be treated without surgery. Surgery is necessary when there is a compound fracture that has broken through the skin or the bone is severely out of place. Surgery typically involves fixing of the fracture with plates and screws or rods inside the bone.

Proximal Humerus Fractures

Most fractures of the proximal humerus can be treated without surgery if the bone fragments are not shifted out of position (displaced). If the fragments are shifted out of position, surgery is usually required. Surgery usually involves fixation of the fracture fragments with plates, screws, or pins or it involves shoulder replacement.

Scapula Fractures

Most fractures of the scapula can be treated without surgery. Treatment involves immobilization with a sling or shoulder immobilizer, icing, and pain medications. The patient will be examined for additional injuries. About 10% to 20% of scapula fractures need surgery. Fractures that need surgery usually have fracture fragments involving the shoulder joint or there is an additional fracture of the clavicle. Surgery involves fixation of the fracture fragments with plates and screws.

Rotator Cuff Repair

Surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff most often involves re-attaching the tendon to the head of humerus (upper arm bone). A partial tear, however, may need only a trimming or smoothing procedure called a debridement. A complete tear is repaired by stitching the tendon back to its original site on the humerus. Your doctor may offer surgery as an option for a torn rotator cuff if your pain does not improve with nonsurgical methods. Continued pain is the main indication for surgery. If you are very active and use your arms for overhead work or sports, your doctor may also suggest surgery.

Other signs that surgery may be a good option for you include:

  • Your symptoms have lasted 6 to 12 months
  • You have a large tear (more than 3 cm) and the quality of the surrounding tendon tissue is good
  • You have significant weakness and loss of function in your shoulder
  • Your tear was caused by a recent, acute injury

Reverse Shoulder Replacement & Revision:

Revision surgery in failed shoulder arthroplasty remains a technically challenging operation associated with less predictable results and higher complication rates when compared to primary shoulder arthroplasty. Failure results from a combination of bone and soft tissue deficiency as well as secondary rotator cuff insufficiency, infection, neural injuries, and implant-associated complications. Fracture arthroplasty has a risk of resorption, malunion, and dislocation of the tuberosities. Secondary rotator cuff insufficiency leads to anterosuperior migration of the humeral component and painful pseudo-paralysis. In these cases, revision to a reverse shoulder arthroplasty may give better functional results and pain reduction.