Your shoulder is made up of three bones: your upper arm bone (humerus), your shoulder blade (scapula), and your collarbone (clavicle).
Injury, overuse, and age-related wear and tear are responsible for most shoulder problems. Shoulder arthroscopy may relieve painful symptoms of many problems that damage the rotator cuff tendons, labrum, articular cartilage, and other soft tissues surrounding the joint.
Common arthroscopic procedures include:
- Rotator cuff repair
- Bone spur removal
- Removal or repair of the labrum
- Repair of ligaments
- Removal of inflamed tissue or loose cartilage
- Repair for recurrent shoulder dislocation
Less common procedures such as nerve release, fracture repair, and cyst excision can also be performed using an arthroscope.
Rotator Cuff Repair
Surgery may be used to treat a rotator cuff injury if it is very severe or if nonsurgical treatment has failed to improve shoulder strength and movement sufficiently.
The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons and the related muscles that stabilize them and allow you to raise and rotate your arm. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint with three main bones: the upper arm bone (humerus), the collarbone (clavicle), and the shoulder blade (scapula).
These bones are held together by muscles, tendons, ligaments, and the joint capsule. The rotator cuff helps keep the ball of the arm bone seated into the socket of the shoulder blade.
Surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff tendon usually involves:
- Removing loose fragments of tendon, bursa, and other debris from the space in the shoulder where the rotator cuff moves (debridement).
- Making more room for the rotator cuff tendon so it is not pinched or irritated. If needed, this includes shaving bone or removing bone spurs from the point of the shoulder blade (subcromial smoothing).
- Sewing the torn edges of the supraspinatus tendon together and to the top of the upper arm bone (humerus).