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Shoulder Surgery

 

Surgery can be performed by two methods. The traditional method is to make large cuts to expose the shoulder joint either to diagnose or treat problems that are occurring. Even today some procedures can only be preformed through this approach. These include total and partial joint replacements.

The other method is to perform surgery through very small incisions. This is known as arthroscopic surgery or keyhole surgery. In this form of treatment a ½ centimeter hole is made to introduce a telescope. This telescope is connected to a television screen, which the surgeon uses to visualise the internal structure of the joint. The surgeon can move the telescope in different directions to have a complete view of what is happening inside the joint. At the same time pictures can be taken, stored for future use and can be given to the patient. Once the surgeon confirms the diagnosis the next step is to make further holes of a similar size through which special instruments are introduced to perform various surgical procedures. Currently other than joint replacement surgery most surgical procedures are performed using such an arthroscopic method.

There are a number of benefits to undergoing keyhole surgery as opposed to open surgery. Obviously the cosmetic result is far better as the incisions are very small and often indistinguishable from normal skin discoloration. As no damage is done to the surrounding muscles and tendons around the joint and the amount of pain that a patient suffers is far less. Complication rates particularly infections are much lower. Recovery in terms of return to work and leisure activities is often quicker.

Is it is not unsual for the shoulder to be more swollen after arthroscopic procedures as fluid is inserted into the joint to blow it up. This allows easy visualisation of the structures. It can take about 24hrs for most of this fluid to be absorbed by the body.

 

Elbow Surgery

 

Elbow surgery can be performed by the traditional open method or by using a telescope. Telescopic surgery in the elbow is very limited. It can be used for removing loose pieces of bone from the elbow or for inspecting the joint. Most of the operations are performed by the traditional method where large cuts are made. Elbow replacements are performed through an incision made over the back of the elbow whereas surgery for instability, tennis elbow or golfers elbow is usually performed through cuts made on the inside or the outside. After most