Arthroscopy can be used to treat several shoulder conditions and problems. Performed since the 1970s, shoulder arthroscopy allows for a quicker recovery time with less pain, as compared to open surgery. Shoulder arthroscopy can also be used to inspect problems inside the shoulder to allow for a more accurate diagnosis.

Arthroscopic Treatment Options

Dr. Bascharon recommends nonsurgical treatment like rest, physical therapy, and medication whenever possible. However, if the condition does not respond to nonsurgical treatment, surgery may be recommended. Although some procedures, such as shoulder replacement, cannot be performed arthroscopically, arthroscopy can often be used to treat damage to the rotator cuff, labrum, articular cartilage, and other soft tissues in the shoulder.

Arthroscopy is commonly used to repair the rotator cuff, remove bone spurs, remove or repair the labrum, repair ligaments, and remove inflamed tissue and loose cartilage. It may also be used for nerve release, fracture repair, and cyst removal.

The Procedure

Arthroscopy is performed with a small camera called an arthroscope. The arthroscope displays images on a monitor in the operating room, which helps surgeons to guide the operating instruments. The surgical instruments are small – usually about the size of a pencil. The surgical instruments, combined with the use of the arthroscope, allow surgeons to perform the procedure using much smaller incisions than those needed for open surgery.

Dr. Bascharon may first inject fluid into the joint to inflate it. This makes it easier to view the structures in the shoulder with the arthroscope. She will then make a small incision in the shoulder to insert the arthroscope. Once the problem area is identified, Dr. Bascharon will make another small incision to insert the operating instruments. There are special instruments for cutting, shaving, grasping, passing sutures, and tying knots. Special devices may be used to anchor stitches into the bone. When the procedure is complete, the incisions may be closed with stitches or small bandages, then covered with a large, soft bandage.

Rehabilitation and Recovery

Patients who are generally healthy can often have an arthroscopic procedure done on an outpatient basis, meaning that they can go home the day of the surgery. Recovery from arthroscopy is generally quicker than with open surgery, but a full recovery can still take weeks. Patients who return home the day of surgery are advised to have someone help them for at least the first night.

Patients should expect pain and discomfort for at least one week after surgery, but those who undergo a more extensive procedure may feel pain for several weeks. Dr. Bascharon may prescribe pain medication if needed. An ice pack can also be used to help with pain and swelling.

Some patients find it more comfortable to sleep in a reclining chair or propped up with pillows, rather than lying flat on the shoulder. Dr. Bascharon may have patients wear a sling to immobilize and protect the shoulder while it heals.

Rehabilitation is a critical part of recovery. After surgery, patients begin an exercise program to regain strength and range of motion in the shoulder. The rehab plan can be tailored to fit a patient’s specific needs. Recovery time depends on the patient. Some can return to normal activities within a few days of the procedure, while those who undergo more complex procedures may not fully recover for months. To ensure the best outcome, it is important to follow all of Dr. Bascharon’s instructions after surgery.

Shoulder Arthroscopy in Las Vegas

Dr. Randa Bascharon takes an individualized approach to patient care, with the goal of getting her patients back to an active lifestyle as quickly and safely as possible. If you would like to learn more about shoulder arthroscopy or schedule an appointment with Dr. Bascharon, please contact her office at (702) 947-7790.