Does shoulder arthroscopy hurt?

This is a common question. One advantage of shoulder arthroscopy is that it is minimally invasive using small incisions or portals around the shoulder to allow visualization of shoulder problems with a high definition fiber optic camera. The small incisions minimize the pain felt when compared with an open surgery.

Another technique that is utilized during shoulder arthroscopy to decrease pain is a nerve block just prior to surgery. An anesthesiologist will inject a small amount of local anesthetic around the nerve supply to the shoulder prior to surgery. This is used in addition to general anesthesia (patient falls asleep). The nerve block helps in two ways: First, it provides pain relief for 12-24 hours after surgery. Second, because the nerves are numbed prior to surgery, this lessens sensitivity of the nerves to pain after the nerve block wears off.

Finally, one dissolvable stitch is placed just below the skin to close each arthroscopic incision at the end of surgery. Thus, no stitches are removed at your first return visit to clinic, making this visit quick and easy.

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