Shoulder arthroscopy is surgery that uses a tiny camera called an arthroscope to examine or repair the tissues inside or around your shoulder joint. The arthroscope is inserted through a small cut (incision) in your skin.
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and their tendons that form a cuff over the shoulder joint. These muscles and tendons hold the arm in the shoulder joint. This also helps the shoulder move in different directions. The tendons in the rotator cuff can tear when they are overused or injured.
You will likely receive general anesthesia for this surgery. This means you will be asleep and unable to feel pain. Or, you may have regional anesthesia. Your arm and shoulder area will be numbed, as a result you do not feel any pain. If you receive regional anesthesia, you will also be given medicine to make you very sleepy during the operation.
During the procedure, the surgeon:
- Inserts the arthroscope into your shoulder through a small incision. The scope is connected to a video monitor in the operating room.
- Inspects all the tissues of your shoulder joint and the area above the joint. These tissues include the cartilage, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
- Repairs any damaged tissues. To do this, your surgeon makes 1 to 3 more small incisions and inserts other instruments through them. A tear in a muscle, tendon, or cartilage is fixed. Any damaged tissue is removed.
- Your surgeon may do one or more of these procedures during your operation.