Shoulder surgery commonly involves arthroscopy, a procedure that uses a thin tube with a camera at its tip (an arthroscope) to help examine and repair the cartilage, bones, tendons and ligaments inside or around the shoulder joint (known as ‘keyhole surgery’). The arthroscope is inserted through a small incision in the skin, with surgical instruments inserted through other incisions. The procedure is performed with general anaesthesia. Surgery may be required to treat various shoulder problems, including: a torn or damaged labrum (cartilage ring) or ligaments; shoulder instability, where the shoulder joint is loose and slides around too much or becomes dislocated; a torn or damaged biceps tendon; a torn rotator cuff (the group of muscles and tendons that cover the shoulder joint, assisting its movement); a bone spur or inflammation around the rotator cuff; inflammation or damaged lining of the joint; arthritis of the end of the clavicle (collarbone); loose tissue that needs to be removed; and shoulder impingement syndrome, to make more room for the shoulder to move around. Open surgery may be needed if the damage is more severe.
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