What Is Diagnostic Shoulder Arthroscopy?

Diagnostic shoulder arthroscopy is an orthopaedic procedure that can be used to identify and treat a variety of conditions. This article will walk you through what a diagnostic shoulder arthroscopy involves and what conditions it can treat.


Overview of a diagnostic shoulder arthroscopy

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that is supported by ligaments and muscles. Within the joint itself, cartilage lines the joint surfaces, allowing it to move and glide smoothly. A variety of conditions can affect the integrity of this joint, however, and can disrupt its normal movement. Persistent shoulder pain, stiffness, or a limited range of motion may be signs of joint degeneration or injury.

A diagnostic shoulder arthroscopy is a procedure that allows an orthopaedic specialist to view the interior of the joint and more precisely diagnose conditions that are affecting it. In this procedure, a small camera (called an arthroscope) is inserted through a narrow incision into the shoulder. The video from the camera is projected onto a screen in the operating room, which then guides the surgeon as they identify damage in the joint.

Based on the identified damage, the surgeon can then diagnose and repair the problem with small instruments that again require only narrow incisions, rather than a traditional open surgery. A shoulder arthroscopy is much less invasive than most surgical procedures that helps to repair an injured shoulder joint. It only requires small incisions and can offer a more precise diagnosis than typical scans and other imaging techniques.

Shoulder arthroscopy can be a particularly effective and minimally invasive way to diagnose damage to the shoulder joint.


Causes of shoulder joint conditions

The shoulder joint can experience inflammation or other damage because of a variety of conditions. Damage to the shoulder joint most commonly occurs as a result of

  •       Age-related wear-and-tear and degeneration of the shoulder joint
  •       Overuse from excessive physical activity (including sports like swimming or throwing)
  •       Traumatic injury to the shoulder joint (from a fall or other accident)

Over time, damage to the shoulder joint or its surrounding cartilage and soft tissue can lead to painful inflammation that may make normal shoulder movements more challenging.


Symptoms of shoulder joint conditions

The shoulder joint can experience a wide variety of problems and conditions. Common symptoms in the shoulder include

  •       Persistent pain
  •       Stiffness
  •       Limited range of motion
  •       Difficulty moving the shoulder
  •       Swelling
  •       Tender to the touch
  •       Feelings of locking or catching in the shoulder joint

These symptoms can manifest as a result of many different conditions that inflame and irritate the shoulder. Some of the most typical conditions that result in damage to the shoulder joint or its surrounding cartilage, ligaments, soft tissue, and muscles include

  •       Rotator cuff disease
  •       Frozen shoulder
  •       Labrum tears
  •       Shoulder dislocation
  •       Torn or strained ligaments
  •       Impingement syndrome
  •       Shoulder instability

An orthopaedic specialist may recommend this procedure if you are suffering from persistent symptoms of these conditions that fail to respond to more conservative treatments.


Treatment for shoulder joint conditions: diagnostic shoulder arthroscopy

In some cases, an orthopaedic specialist may recommend a diagnostic shoulder arthroscopy to inspect the inside of a damaged shoulder joint and diagnose the source of pain and other symptoms in the shoulder.

This procedure is minimally invasive and often suggested as a course of treatment for those whose shoulder pain continues to persist. An orthopaedic doctor will determine the course of treatment based on the individual case.


Diagnostic shoulder arthroscopy at OAR

We understand how frustrating persistent shoulder pain and discomfort can be. Our team of compassionate orthopaedic specialists and surgeons take your health and well-being seriously. We will work with you to develop an innovative course of treatment that is designed to offer you the relief you need.

Book an appointment with us today!

Only a doctor can tell you if you have this ailment. This is for informational purposes and should not be used in lieu of a doctor’s opinion.