Question:I need to have surgery on my shoulder because it clicks and hurts whenever I raise my arms over my head. Since I work as a hair dresser, I use this motion all day long. The surgeon I saw wants to put two puncture holes in my shoulder to repair this problem. Should I go through with it? Will the holes cause problems later?
Answer:It sounds like your surgeon is suggesting arthroscopic surgery. A long needle with a tiny TV camera on the end is inserted through the skin into the joint. The surgeon can see on a screen what is going on inside the joint.
The scope makes it possible to find and repair damage to the joint capsule, cartilage, and ligaments or tendons in the area. Studies show this type of surgery is very successful. There is no need for a large, open incision. Rehab and recovery is faster because major muscles haven't been cut through.
The two or three puncture holes needed for placement of the scope usually present no problems. There is a small risk of infection at those sites. Usually, they just fill in with collagen fibers and scar tissue. They may only be visible on close inpsection.
The recovery process does take some time. Depending on what the surgeon has to do, you probably won't be able to go back to work right away. Most patients are placed in a sling with a pillow under the arm.
You'll probably see a physical therapist several weeks after the operation. The focus of rehab will be on restoring range of motion, strength, and function. Specific exercises may be prescribed to help you prepare to return to overhead work.Christopher A. Radkowski, MD, et al. Arthroscopic Capsulolabral Repair for Posterior Shoulder Instability in Throwing Athletes Compared with Nonthrowing Athletes. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. April 2008. Vol. 36. No. 4. Pp. 693-699.
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