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Shoulder News

Seeing the Full Scope and Benefits of Shoulder Arthroscopy

Fifteen years ago, doctors used a large incision to open the shoulder and repair a torn tendon or muscle. Now they can use an arthroscope to look inside the joint and make repairs without opening the joint.

An arthroscope is both a surgical tool and a tiny TV camera. Doctors like the arthroscope because it allows them to see the joint without a big incision. Patients report they have less pain and a quicker return to normal. Some studies show patients use fewer drugs for pain after all-arthroscopic surgery.

Many studies show good results with arthroscopic surgery for the shoulder. Doctors have gone from using an open incision to arthroscopic-assisted operations and, now, all-arthroscopic repair. This study looked at the result of shoulder tendon repair using the arthroscope alone versus a mini-open operation with the arthroscope to help.

The results of this study show that return of shoulder motion was much faster for the all-arthroscopic group. The doctors think this is the result of less pain, less muscle spasm, and easier rehabilitation. Patients in the arthroscopic-assisted group were more likely to have a condition called fibrous ankylosis. In such cases, the shoulder doesn't get the full motion back.

The authors report that an all-arthroscopic operation takes extra training and a higher skill level on the part of the surgeon. When a doctor has this training, the all-arthroscopic method is a better choice. Patients get full motion with less pain and faster recovery.


Erik L. Severud, MD, et al. All-Arthroscopic Versus Mini-Open Rotator Cuff Repair: A Long-Term Retrospective Outcome Comparison. In Arthroscopy. March 2003. Vol. 19. No. 3. Pp. 234-238.

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*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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