Shoulder Arthroscopy (also called arthroscopic surgery) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which an examination and sometimes treatment of damage of the interior of the shoulder joint is performed using an arthroscope, a type of endoscope that is inserted into the joint through a small incision. Arthroscopic procedures can be performed either to evaluate or to treat many orthopedic conditions including torn floating cartilage, torn surface cartilage, labral damage and trimming damaged cartilage.
The advantage of arthroscopy over traditional open surgery is that the joint does not have to be opened up fully. Instead, for shoulder arthroscopy for example, only two small incisions are made — one for the arthroscope and one for the surgical instruments to be used in the shoulder cavity. This reduces recovery time and may increase the rate of surgical success due to less trauma to the connective tissue. It typically requires less recovery time and causes less scarring, because of the smaller incisions. Irrigation fluid is used to distend the joint and make a surgical space.
The surgical instruments used are smaller than traditional instruments. Surgeons view the joint area on a video monitor, and can diagnose and repair joint damage.