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Shoulder Arthroscopy

Why might a Shoulder Arthroscopy be needed?

A shoulder arthroscopy is performed when shoulder pain hasn’t responded to non-surgical treatments such as physiotherapy. The procedure involves using a camera which is inserted into small incisions in the skin, and is minimally invasive. It can be used to diagnose or treat problems that are causing pain or restricting movement in the shoulder. Shoulder arthroscopy is often used to remove small pieces of bone that can get trapped, or to repair parts of joints that have been previously damaged.

What are the risks with a Shoulder Arthroscopy?

The risk rate after arthroscopic surgery is low. If complications do occur they are usually general surgical issues such as:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Numbness

How to prepare for a Shoulder Arthroscopy

Before the surgery, we will make sure you feel as comfortable as possible. We will talk you through what will happen in your surgery, along with the risks and benefits. Your doctor will tell you which medicines you should either stop taking, or take, before your surgery.

You will also be instructed regarding eating or drinking prior to the surgery. It is also important that you have showered/bathed before the procedure so that the shoulder area is clean. You will have time to ask as many questions as you like to your surgeon on the day.

What will happen during your surgery? 

During surgery, you will be placed under anaesthetic as the doctor will use a small arthroscope to either:

  • Remove/repair torn cartilage
  • Smooth the surfaces of your joints
  • Remove bone spurs that are affecting the joint
  • Remove inflamed tissue

Shoulder Arthroscopy is a day case surgical procedure, meaning you will be okay to go home on the day. It may however take 6 weeks to recover properly. You should be able to go to work soon after the surgery if you have an office job, but shouldn’t expect to go back to a physical labour job straight away. Your journey with us doesn’t end after surgery, however. You may need to wear a sling also to support your arms position. We will set you up with our OneWelbeck app that will provide you post surgery tips and personalised videos from your doctor.

Information For GPs

If you are a GP and would like to refer a patient, ask a question or enquire about our education events, please visit our dedicated GP page, by clicking here.