Shoulder Arthroscopy

Shoulder Arthroscopy, TPL Orthopedics and Sports MedicineOrthopedic surgeons may use shoulder arthroscopy to examine, diagnose and repair problems related to the shoulder joint. The procedure involves insertion of a tiny camera, called an arthroscope, inside the shoulder joint. The camera transmits images of the inside structure to a monitor, which the surgeon uses as a guide to perform intricate surgery in a precise manner.

Arthroscopy makes the shoulder joint surgery less invasive, less painful, and cuts down the recovery time. The size of incisions is much smaller than those required in a traditional, open surgery. The Knee and Shoulder Institute, headed by board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler, provides shoulder arthroscopy to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada and surrounding communities.



Patients suffering from a painful condition of the shoulder joint that does not respond to non-invasive treatments may make good candidates for shoulder arthroscopy. Disease or injury to the shoulder joint can create inflammation, which will lead to pain and stiffness in the shoulder.

The candidate may suffer from overuse or age-related wear and tear of the shoulder joint, apart from disease or injury. The surgeon will examine the shoulder joint for possible damage to the rotator cuff, labrum, tendons, articular cartilage, and other soft issues around the joint.


Key Arthroscopic Procedures

Arthroscopic procedures related to shoulder joint will commonly include:

  • Rotator cuff repair
  • Bone spur removal
  • Repair of ligaments
  • Removal or repair of the labrum
  • Repair for recurrent shoulder dislocation
  • Removal of inflamed tissue or loose cartilage

In rare cases, procedures such as shoulder fracture repair, nerve release and excision of cysts may also be performed using arthroscopy.



In the surgery room, the patient will be positioned to enable the surgeon to adjust the arthroscope and gain a clear view of the inner structure of the shoulder. The surgical team will remove hair in the area, if required, and then disinfect the shoulder skin. The surgeon will inject fluid into the shoulder to inflate the joint, which allows for an easier view of all the underlying structures.

A small puncture in the shoulder will then be made to insert the arthroscope. Images from the arthroscope will be projected on the monitor to show the surgeon the inside of the shoulder and any damage. Once the problem is targeted, the surgeon will insert miniature instruments through separate incisions to begin the repair.

Tasks such as cutting, shaving, grasping, and suturing will involve specialized instruments. Special devices may be used to anchor stitches into bone. Once the surgery is completed, the surgeon may close the incisions with sutures or steri-strips and cover the area with a bandage. Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Bigler and Dr. Thomas receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada and nearby areas.



Shoulder arthroscopy will involve a relatively faster and smoother recovery. The patient can return home the same day of the surgery, and may need mild pain medications for the first two to three days. In case of more extensive surgery, the pain may last longer. The shoulder will completely recover in a few weeks, but the patient can resume most of the regular activities after a week or 10 days.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. call (702) 933-9393; Physical Therapy (702) 933-9394

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