Twitter Facebook Google Plus YouTube LinkedIn Instagram
Show telephone contact numbers
Hide telephone contact numbers
General enquiries:
+44 (0)207 935 4444
Book an appointment:
+44 (0)207 616 7693
Self-pay enquiry:
+44 (0)203 219 3315

What is an arthroscopy of your shoulder?

An arthroscopy (keyhole surgery) is performed to diagnose and treat problems in your shoulder joint. It involves examining the inside of the joint using a telescope inserted through small cuts on your skin.

Figure showing an arthroscopy of the shoulder

What are the benefits of surgery?

The aim is to confirm exactly what the problem is and for many people the problem can be treated at the same time.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Problems inside a joint can often be diagnosed using tests such as CT scans and MRI scans. However, they do not show early damage to the surface of joints, damage to small ligaments or how bad any damage is, and you may then need an arthroscopy to treat the problem.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but sometimes a nerve block is used, where local anaesthetics and other painkillers are injected near the major nerves to your arm.

The operation usually takes about 40 minutes.

Your surgeon will usually make about two to four small cuts, about half a centimetre long, around the joint. They will insert a small telescope through one of the cuts so they can examine the joint. They will insert surgical instruments through the other cuts if they need to treat any problems with the joint.

What complications can happen?

Some of these can be serious and can even cause death.

General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Unsightly scarring of your skin

Specific complications of this operation

  • Bleeding into the joint
  • Infection in your shoulder joint
  • Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of your arm and hand
  • Damage to nerves around the joint

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day.

The physiotherapist may give you exercises and advice to help you to recover from the operation.

It can take up to 3 months to get back to normal activities.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Most people have a major improvement but it takes time for pain to lessen and movement to increase. Symptoms often come back with time.

Summary

An arthroscopy of your shoulder allows your surgeon to diagnose and treat problems affecting the joint, without the need for a large cut on your skin. This may reduce the amount of pain you feel and speed up your recovery.

Disclaimer

The operation and treatment information on this website is published under license by The London Clinic from EIDO Healthcare UK and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

mEDICAL aDMISSIONS

A nurse with a patient

Facilitating acute admissions into The London Clinic whilst maintaining the highest levels of safety and care, supported by a consultant on-call rota.

Concierge service

Chauffeur loading suitcases into a luxury car

We can support our patients with travel, hotel accommodation, London tours, plus theatre and restaurant reservations.

Close menu

Main numbers

General enquiries: +44 (0) 207 935 4444 Appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7693 Self-pay: +44 (0) 203 219 3315

Other numbers

Concierge service: +44 (0) 203 219 3323 International office: +44 (0) 203 219 3266 Invoice and payment enquiries: +44 (0) 207 616 7708

Your call may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.

Medical service numbers

Breast services appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7653 Diagnostics appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7653 Endoscopy appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7760 Eye centre appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7768 Haematology appointments: +44 (0) 207 535 5503 Kidney services appointments: +44 (0) 207 224 5234 Liver services appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7719 Physiotherapy appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7651 Radiology appointments: +44 (0) 207 616 7653

Close menu