Shoulder Arthroscopy

What is Shoulder Arthroscopy?

Shoulder arthroscopy refers to a type of minimally invasive surgery used for the diagnosis and treatment of shoulder problems. The shoulder surgeon inserts a small, thin tube with a camera and light source attached, also known as an arthroscope, through a tiny incision in the skin. The surgeon will then look at the projected images to find the source of the shoulder injury and repair it if necessary.

Shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder is one of the largest and most complex joints in the human body. It consists of 3 bones: the humerus (upper arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle (collarbone).

The humerus fits into the shallow socket of the scapula, creating a ball and socket joint. The shoulder joint capsule is a connective tissue that encapsulates the shoulder’s ball and socket joint.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons in the shoulder. It is responsible for attaching the humerus to the scapula and allows for rotation of your arm. Between the rotator cuff and the acromion (a bone on the scapula), there is a small fluid-filled sac, also known as the bursa which allows the rotator cuff tendons to slide freely when the arm is moving.

When is a Shoulder Arthroscopy Recommended?

A shoulder arthroscopy is typically recommended when patients have not responded to non-surgical treatments for their shoulder pain, such as rest, physiotherapy and joint injections. Your shoulder surgeon in Singapore will be the best person to evaluate if an arthroscopy may be needed and if you are a suitable candidate for it.

What Does Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery in Singapore Treat?

  • Rotator Cuff Tear: This occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff become partially or completely detached from the head of the humerus. This is usually caused by repetitive overhead movements, acute trauma or degenerative changes in the shoulder joint.
  • Shoulder Impingement: This occurs when a tendon of the rotator cuff rubs under the surface of the acromion bone. This can be caused by a swollen tendon and inflamed bursa due to injury or overuse of the shoulder.
  • Frozen Shoulder: This is a condition where the shoulder becomes stiff and inflamed, limiting movement and causing pain. The exact cause is unknown.
  • Labrum Tears: This occurs when one tears the ring of cartilage that surrounds the socket of the shoulder joint (labrum). This can be caused by injury or overuse of the shoulder joint.
  • Shoulder Arthritis: This occurs when cartilage in the shoulder joint gradually wears away, resulting in pain, stiffness and reduced mobility in the joint. This can be caused by injury, ageing or a degenerative joint condition like osteoarthritis.
  • Shoulder Instability: Shoulder instability can be caused by a traumatic injury, repetitive strain of the shoulder, congenital conditions, or damage to the soft tissues or bones of the shoulder joint.

Preparing for a Shoulder Arthroscopy

What happens before an arthroscopic shoulder surgery?
Your shoulder doctor in Singapore will ask you about your medical history and a list of medications that you are currently taking, in case any of them need to be adjusted prior to the procedure. You should also inform your doctor about any allergies that you may have; and fast before the procedure.
What happens during shoulder arthroscopy?
During a shoulder arthroscopy, the surgeon will make small incisions around the shoulder joint and insert a small camera (arthroscope) to visualize the inside of the joint. This allows the surgeon to diagnose and repair various shoulder conditions, such as rotator cuff tears, labrum tears, and shoulder impingement syndrome, by inserting specialized surgical tools through other small incisions.
What happens after the arthroscopic shoulder procedure?
Shoulder arthroscopy is an outpatient procedure and the entire process usually requires about an hour. After surgery, patients may need to recover for an hour or two at the shoulder surgery clinic. Pain medication may be prescribed accordingly. Patients should arrange for a family member or friend to fetch them home after the procedure as they may still have residual effects of the anaesthesia.

Recovering from Shoulder Arthroscopy

As compared to open shoulder surgeries, shoulder arthroscopy has reduced post-operative discomfort and a shorter recovery time. The shoulder joint will take several weeks to completely heal; and pain and swelling will gradually subside.

Your shoulder surgeon may recommend a sling to protect your shoulder 2 to 6 weeks after your surgery. You will also be asked to see a physiotherapist to ensure that you are properly rehabilitated for a faster and fuller recovery.


What conditions can be treated with shoulder arthroscopy?

Shoulder arthroscopy can be used to diagnose and treat a range of shoulder conditions, including rotator cuff tears, labrum tears, shoulder impingement syndrome, shoulder instability, and arthritis.

Are there any risks associated with shoulder arthroscopy?

Like any surgery, there are risks associated with shoulder arthroscopy, including infection, bleeding, nerve damage, and blood clots. However, the risks are generally low, especially when in the hands of an experienced and accredited Singapore shoulder surgeon.

What is the recovery time after shoulder arthroscopy?

Recovery time can vary depending on the severity of the shoulder condition and the extent of the surgery, but most patients can expect to return to normal activities within 6 to 12 weeks.

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Our goal is to relieve any pain and help you improve your quality of life. For more assistance, please call +65 8028 4572 or leave us a message

Quantum Orthopaedics

Camden Medical

1 Orchard Boulevard, #09-06Singapore 248649

Mount Alvernia Hospital

820 Thomson RoadMedical Centre D #05-60Singapore 574623

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Operating Hours

Monday-Friday : 8:30am - 5:30pm

Saturday : 8:30am - 12:30pm

Sunday & Public Holiday : Closed