Shoulder injuries are mainly caused due to overstretching of the joint, which tears the tendons from their base. This is a severe case, since it can be quite painful, and may require surgery (arthroscopy) to correct it.
The procedure of diagnosing and treating joint concerns in the body is known as arthroscopy. In this, a tiny fiber optic camera (arthroscope) is inserted via an incision in the skin to assess and examine the damaged tissue around the shoulder joint. This surgery is mainly performed when other methods prove ineffective. Being a minimally invasive procedure, injuries such as bone spurs, bursitis, tendinitis, and tears can be corrected with it.
Shoulder Problems Relieved with Arthroscopy
Arthroscopy is recommended for these shoulder problems:
- Torn cartilage in shoulder
- Damaged cartilage or a torn ligament
- Loose shoulder joints, where the ball could slip out of the shoulder socket
- A damaged biceps tendon
- Inflammation of shoulder bone
- Damaged lining of the joint (as in rheumatoid arthritis)
- Shoulder impingement syndrome
- Arthritis in collarbone (clavicle)
- Rotator cuff tear
Recovery and Exercises
Before the surgery, the doctor may ask the patient to adhere to certain regulations, like stopping certain medications, and eating soft and liquid food. On the day of the surgery, he is advised against eating or drinking anything 6 – 12 hours prior to surgery. Usually, small incisions are made in the affected region of the shoulder, and using an arthroscope, the surgeon identifies the torn ligament or a damaged tissue. In case of a tear, the repair is done. However, if there is a damaged tissue, it is removed.
Once the surgery is over, the incisions are stitched and bandaged. It usually takes several weeks for the incisions to heal completely, despite the fact that the puncture wounds are small and the pain felt during the surgery is minimal. Apparently, the recovery time may range between 1 – 6 months. In the first week, the patient has to wear a sling for protection. It however depends on the kind of surgery that is performed. If it is an open surgery, the recovery time can extend further, as open surgeries are complicated.
En route to recovery, the patient is advised to adhere to certain shoulder stabilization procedures for a few months. Strong antibiotics and pain relieving medications like morphine or demerol are prescribed to palliate the shoulder pain caused by the swelling, post surgery. Anti-inflammatory medicines like Hydrocodone or Tylenol with codeine are also prescribed.
Although one should remember, too many drugs can cause extreme drowsiness, slowness in breathing, irregular bowel movements and allergic reactions. So it is important to take extra care when consuming prescription drugs and pain pumps, which are used for lessening the discomfort in the shoulder. Besides, movement of the shoulder is restricted to limited exercises of the wrist, elbow, and shoulder.
Here are some effective shoulder exercises advised for people recovering post arthroscopy. Shoulder exercises for physical therapy should be followed for about 3 – 4 weeks, post surgery, once the shoulder attains flexibility.
- Bend over at the waist and loosen up the affected arm by your side.
- Move your arm in clockwise and anticlockwise circle.
- Stand sideways alongside a wall. Place your elbow at 90 degrees. Now, place your forearm against the wall and hold for 5 seconds.
- Repeat the same procedure by turning 180 degrees, for 5 times.
- When lying down, try supporting the elbow from behind. Use one or two pillows for supporting the elbow.
An average shoulder surgery cost can range anywhere between USD 10,000 – 15,050. People recovering from this surgery should practice mild exercises regularly for a faster healing. A balanced diet is mandatory post any surgery, to help the body regain its normal routine. And yes, avoid alcohol and smoking during the recovery period.