Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What are the complications involved with arthroscopic surgery?"
My doctor thinks that my shoulder would feel better if I had arthroscopic surgery. What exactly does it involve? Are there any complications that can happen with this surgery? I definitely want my shoulder to be better but I am afraid of surgery.
Arthroscopic surgery is a form of minimally invasive surgery in which small incisions are made around the joint (in your case, this would be the shoulder joint obviously) and a tiny camera is inserted. This allow for visualization of the cartilage inside the joint, and small tools can be inserted alongside the camera to scrape out any scar tissue or other abnormalities that are found. Arthroscopic surgery is generally fairly well tolerated, and the recovery time and pain from the procedure are less than you would experience with a more major type of surgery, because the incisions are tiny. The primary complications from arthroscopic surgery would be pain and stiffness afterwards in the joint until the swelling from the procedure has gone down. There is also a small risk of infection, as with any surgery, but this is usually minimal as the procedure is done in the operating room in a sterile fashion. Finally, there is the risk that the procedure will not make your shoulder pain substantially better. I suggest that you discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with your orthopedic surgeon. They will be able to explain to you why they think the procedure is right for you.
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