Shoulder arthroscopic debridement is a procedure used to relieve pain and restore function to the shoulder joint. This surgery is best for patients who have rotator cuff tears that cannot be fully repaired. The procedure is followed by a long course of physical therapy.
What is debridement?
Debridement is the process of removing damaged tissue and debris from the shoulder joint. Considered a minimally invasive procedure, shoulder joint debridement involves use of small tools to surgically clean the area.
Who is a candidate for shoulder arthroscopic debridement?
Tissue damage of the shoulder joint occurs due to various reasons. The most common reason for tissue damage is degeneration from osteoarthritis. However, damage can also occur due to trauma or injury. As the tissue of the joint deteriorates with normal wear-and-tear as the body ages, debris and loose tissues form in the joint. This can lead to impaired shoulder range of motion and significant pain.
What is the success rate of shoulder arthroscopy and debridement?
Based on clinical studies, shoulder arthroscopic debridement has over a 70% success rate with orthopedic surgeons in Gilbert and Chandler AZ. This success rate is based on reduction in pain and return to normal activities.
What type of anesthesia is involved?
Shoulder arthroscopy and debridement is usually done using general anesthesia, and the total procedure takes approximately one hour. For pain relief after the procedure, a local anesthetic and or regional anesthetic (nerve block) may be used. Regional anesthesia is used for patients who have certain medical conditions and those who wish to avoid post-operative side effects.
How do I prepare for the shoulder debridement procedure?
Two weeks before your scheduled surgery, make the Chandler orthopedic surgeon aware of all your medications, and assure that he has copies of your medical records. Don’t smoke, avoid alcohol, and pass on over-the-counter medications. Do not eat or drink the night before the procedure, and leave valuables at home. Arrange to have someone to drive you home from the hospital. When you arrive, a nurse will have you sign a consent form, change into a gown, and place an IV in your arm to administer necessary medications.
How is the surgery done?
The sports medicine surgeon first makes several small incisions around the shoulder. The arthroscope is inserted so the doctor can see inside on a monitor. The first part of the procedure involves evaluating the shoulder for damaged tendons and arthritis of the joint. When shoulder movement is restricted, the ligaments are released.
If the biceps tendon is trapped or painful when the arm is lifted, the tendon is also released. In order for the tendon to move adequately, a small portion of bone may need to be removed as well. After all debridement is done, the incisions are closed with sutures, and the area is covered with bandages. Then, the shoulder is placed in a sling.
What does recovery involve?
After the procedure, you are moved to a recovery room where a nurse monitors your condition for several minutes. Most patients will stay overnight in the hospital. The next day, a physical therapist works with you to teach necessary exercises for regaining strength and joint function. The sling is worn for 2-3 weeks, and at this time, you may use your hand as needed. After the sling comes off, you can drive and gradually return to usual activities over the next 3-6 weeks.