Keyhole Shoulder Surgery Adelaide

(Shoulder Arthroscopy)

Your shoulder is a complex structure involving several joints supported by tendons, muscles and ligaments.

Dr Nimon has a special interest in shoulder surgery to help you recover your ease of movement and reduce pain. As Head of Shoulder Surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and with an Academic appointment at the University of Adelaide, he is a highly experienced shoulder surgeon.

What is arthroscopic shoulder surgery?

An arthroscope is a small fibre-optic video camera attached to a narrow tube. It’s used to inspect the inside of your joint and perform treatment using live images from the camera as guidance.

Shoulder arthroscopy is a type of keyhole surgery performed on your shoulder. It involves small incisions rather than large cuts, which reduces damage to surrounding tissues and may speed up your recovery. Surgery is usually performed to relieve pain and improve your shoulder’s stability.

We use shoulder arthroscopy to:

    • Inspect your joints

    • Clear the inflammation around the joint and repair the rotator cuff muscles and treat impingement

    • Treat AC joint arthritis by removing part of your clavicle

    • Repairing the rotator cuff or labrum (tissue around your shoulder socket).

With two, three or four very small incisions of about 1 cm each, we can treat many shoulder problems. 

What does arthroscopic surgery involve?

You’ll be brought into the operating theatre and given a nerve block, a local anaesthetic to the nerves in your neck which supply your arm. The nerve block means we only need to give you a light general anaesthetic which means you wake up more quickly and with less postoperative nausea.

Once you’re unconscious, we position you on your side and put some gentle traction on your arm to open the joint and insert the arthroscope so we can inspect the joint surface itself. That enables us to assess the level of arthritis in your joints and inspect the tissues (labrum) around the glenoid (the shoulder socket).

Labral repair or stabilisation

If we find a tear to your labrum, we can repair it using small anchors which we implant into your socket, using sutures to repair any soft tissue that has pulled away from the edge. This is also known as a Bankart repair.

Treating shoulder bursitis

Bursa sacs are filled with fluid to ease rubbing and friction in your joints. If the main joint is otherwise intact, we can treat the inflamed bursa through an incision in your arm, removing any bone that is catching on your tendon.

Treating osteoarthritis of the AC joint

If there is arthritis of the lateral (outside) end of the clavicle leading to problems with the acromioclavicular joint ( AC joint ), we can remove a small segment of bone to stop your bones rubbing together.

Rotator cuff repair

The rotator cuff is a set of 4 tendons linked to the muscles surrounding your shoulder. Dr Nimon can perform a rotator cuff repair whilst undertaking shoulder arthroscopy.

We do this by abrading (roughening) the top of the greater tuberosity (the lump on the top and outer end of the shoulder bone). We then insert anchors which have sutures attached to them, which are used to tie the torn part of the tendon to the bone.

Tear identified at surgery

What are the benefits of shoulder arthroscopy?

Keyhole shoulder surgery has many benefits compared to open surgery, some of which may include:

    • Blood loss

    • Risk of infection

    • Scars

    • Pain

    • Mobilisation.

Keyhole shoulder surgery recovery time

Because arthroscopic shoulder surgery is minimally invasive, you tend to make a faster recovery.

If your surgery did not involve any soft tissue repair, then you don’t need to wear a sling and we’ll encourage you to move as soon as possible, often returning to driving as soon as stitches are removed.

If you did have a soft tissue repair, you will need a sling but are encouraged to take it off daily to exercise your shoulder to prevent stiffness. It takes about 4-6 weeks for your soft tissues to heal to the bone, after which you can remove the sling and return to driving.

Choose Glenelg Orthopaedics for shoulder arthroscopy

Dr Nimon has performed over 2000 shoulder arthroscopies, making him highly experienced in these procedures. He now teaches younger surgeons through the University of Adelaide.

If you’d like a highly experienced surgeon to perform a minimally invasive procedure to address your shoulder pain, then please make an appointment.

More information

In the following video Dr Gavin Nimon discusses shoulder conditions and shoulder surgery including shoulder arthroscopy.  For more information and articles about shoulder conditions and treatment visit our shoulder section, or give us a call 8376 9988.

Disclaimer: All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances and seek a second opinion. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks.