Shoulder Arthritis Treatment

If your struggle with shoulder pain caused by some form of arthritis, you deserve the best treatment possible. The team at OrthoBethesda provides Bethesda, Maryland, patients with high-quality orthopedic services to ensure you receive high-quality care. Our compassionate team will take the time to understand your condition fully.

Although we may initially recommend conservative treatment options, if you still struggle with joint pain, we may advise shoulder arthroscopy to provide relief for your severe symptoms and to help you regain mobility.

What Is Arthroscopy for Shoulder Pain Relief?

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure we perform to determine the cause of joint problems. Surgeons use a pencil-sized instrument called an arthroscope, which is a diagnostic tool that can also be used as a surgical treatment option.

Using the light camera system of the arthroscope, your surgeon inserts this tool into your shoulder joint and can view the site projected onto a monitor. Arthroscopy allows your doctor to both diagnose and treat a variety of shoulder conditions and injuries involving the bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments and tendons surrounding the joint.

Conditions and Symptoms Treated By Shoulder Arthroscopy

Your shoulder is a ball and socket joint formed by the head of the humerus, or upper arm bone and the socket of the scapula, or shoulder blade. Where these two bones articulate creates friction. However, cartilage covers the surfaces of the bones to ensure smooth movement. Ligaments and tendons add extra strength and stability to your shoulder joint.

A variety of injuries and diseases can impact the bones and tissue of the shoulder joint, causing instability, pain, inflammation and mobility issues. When conservative treatment fails to provide relief, we may recommend shoulder arthroscopy to treat a variety of shoulder conditions and symptoms, such as:

  • Arthritis of the shoulder joint
  • Arthritis of the collar bone
  • Shoulder impingement
  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Stiffness
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Instability of the shoulder joint
  • Biceps rupture
  • Damage to cartilage or ligaments
  • Bone spurs

Your Shoulder Arthroscopy Procedure

If you and your OrthoBethesda surgeon choose shoulder arthroscopy to treat your joint issues, the doctor will ensure you fully understand the procedure ahead of time, so you know what to expect. In general, the process is as follows:

  1. Shoulder arthroscopy can be performed using general or regional anesthesia.
  2. Usually, patients are positioned lying down on their side, with the affected arm propped up. However, you may also be placed sitting in a semi-seated position.
  3. Your shoulder joint is injected with sterile fluid to expand the surgical site giving your surgeon room to work and a clear view of the damaged area.
  4. The doctor makes a button-sized hole through which the arthroscope is inserted.
  5. The camera in the arthroscope allows your surgeon to view images on a large monitor.
  6. Additional small holes are made to insert surgical instruments that will allow your physician to repair the damage to your shoulder joint.
  7. Once the surgery is complete, all instruments are removed and the small holes are closed using stitches or sterile bandage strips.

Recovery After Shoulder Arthroscopy Surgery

After your shoulder arthroscopy surgery, the small wounds may take a few days to heal. You may also experience pain or discomfort for about a week. However, your doctor will prescribe pain medication to help you manage this.

Recovery time depends on the extent of your underlying shoulder issues which your doctor treated. You may also need to keep your arm in a sling as you recover. Rehabilitation begins shortly after your surgery which involves physical therapy to improve your shoulder's mobility and strengthen the joint. It's important to participate in physical therapy, as this will help prevent post-operative stiffness.

As with any surgical procedure, there are potential complications, such as:

  • Stiffness
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Damage to nearby blood vessels or nerves
  • Delayed healing after the procedure

Advantages of Shoulder Arthroscopy

Because shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure, there are many benefits to patients, especially when compared to open shoulder surgery, which involves a large surgical incision. Advantages you can expect include:

  • Fewer surgical complications
  • Shorter hospitalization
  • Faster recovery
  • Less pain

Contact OrthoBethesda to Find out More About Shoulder Arthroscopy

If you're struggling with arthritis in your shoulder joint or unexplained pain, you can turn to Bethesda's own OrthoBethesda. Our compassionate team utilizes cutting edge procedures, like shoulder arthroscopy, to ensure you receive the best diagnostic and surgical treatment available.

Contact us today by calling (301) 530-1010 to make an appointment with one of our highly skilled surgeons. We look forward to treating you.

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