When rotator cuff problems do not respond to nonsurgical treatment, or are severe, a Rebound shoulder surgeon may recommend arthroscopic shoulder surgery.

What is Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery?

Arthroscopic shoulder surgery is a procedure that allows surgeons to insert a miniature camera into a patient’s shoulder through small incisions.

“The shoulder is a very complex joint, and using this form of surgery helps us investigate the problem more efficiently because we are actually able to see inside the joint by inserting the camera,” says Dr. Wei. “This camera is very small, about the size of a pencil head.”

Once the camera is inserted, the surgeon is able to see its feed displayed on a video monitor screen. Surgeons like Dr. Wei are able to refer to camera’s feed to determine which surgical measures to take.

How Does Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery Treat Rotator Cuff Tears?

Arthroscopic shoulder surgery allows the surgeon to repair the damaged area of the rotator cuff with the use of a small camera (arthroscope) and small surgical instruments.

“The rotator cuff is made up of muscles and tendons that connect the shoulder blade to upper arm bone. When you have torn a rotator cuff, it can be difficult and painful to lift or rotate your arm.”

Aside from the small incision made for the camera, one to three other small incisions are made in the shoulder to accommodate surgical instruments. These instruments help surgeons like Dr. Wei reattach tendons to the head of the upper arm bone.

What are the Benefits of Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery for Rotator Cuff Tears?

One of the primary benefits of arthroscopic shoulder surgery for rotator cuff repair is that it is a less invasive procedure than open surgery.

“A major benefit of having arthroscopic surgery is the initial recovery period,” says Dr. Wei. “Smaller incisions and less muscle dissection often mean patients experience less post surgery.”

The small incisions typically yield less scaring as well. Many patients experience an increased range of motion of the shoulder and arm. In most cases, the surgery is also an outpatient procedure.

If you are experiencing limited shoulder mobility, pain and weakness, do not hesitate to visit with one of our shoulder experts.

If you're ready to discuss your rotator cuff problem with one of our specialty-trained shoulder specialists, Gregory D. Gramstad, M.D., Jesse McCarron, M.D., or Anthony S. Wei, M.D., visit us in Vancouver at our Vancouver or Salmon Creek locations; in Portland at our Rose Quarter location; or at our Lake Oswego location. You can request an appointment online or call us at 1-800-REBOUND.

Rebound Shoulder Resources:

Shoulder Surgery Services & Team

Tendinitis, Impingement and Bursitis: Common Sources of Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Instability Causes and Treatments

Rotator Cuff Injury Prevention and Treatment

Trusted Shoulder Resources:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) – Rotator Cuff Tears: Surgical Treatment Options

AAOS – Rotator Cuff Tears

AAOS – Shoulder Arthroscopy

AAOS – Shoulder Surgery Exercise Guide