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Shoulder Arthroscopy


Arthroscopy (the prefix 'arthro' refers to a joint), or arthroscopic surgery, describes minimally invasive surgery, often referred to as keyhole surgery, performed on a joint.

Shoulder arthroscopy normally involves the insertion of a small camera through a 5mm incision (often referred to as a 'portal') in the skin, with one or more further 5mm incisions made in order to allow special instruments to be used. This technique generally allows more rapid recovery after surgery than is possible after conventional open surgery, and scarring is kept to a minimum. Patients are usually able to return home following an overnight stay or sometimes the same day.

View through the arthroscope of shoulder joint. SSc: Subscapularis tendon, SGHL: Superior gleno-humeral ligament, BP: Biceps tendon pulley.

Shoulder Arthroscopy is most often used to evaluate and treat a range of conditions that affect the shoulder, including:

  • Impingement syndrome, subacromial bursitis
  • Biceps tendonitis
  • Loose bodies
  • Shoulder arthritis
  • Rotator cuff repairs
  • Stabilisation surgery
  • Release of capsule in stiff shoulders
  • Synovectomies, biopsies
  • Treatment of infections

Dr Sunil Reddy is an Arthroscopic shoulder surgeon in Adelaide. He specialises in Joint Replacement, arthroscopy and sports injuries of the shoulder. He also accepts worker’s compensation and third party claims for injuries/conditions of the shoulder and knee and strives for your optimal recovery and return to sport/work.



The patient is generally positioned in either a reclined seated (modified beach-chair) position or lying on one side on the operating table. Dr Reddy routinely performs all shoulder arthroscopic procedures in a modified beach-chair position using a proprietary arm holder.

Fluid is injected through the skin to make it easier for the surgeon to see the joint, tendons and ligaments on the arthroscope screen, and then a small incision is made (as described above) to allow the arthroscope to be introduced. Special instruments may need to be inserted via other small portals to perform repairs or/and other reconstructive procedures.

Specific Risks and Complications

Dr Reddy will explain the benefits, risks and complications of a Shoulder replacement in the Clinic to help you make an informed decision regarding your surgery.

Shoulder arthroscopic surgery carries the possibility of complications such as infection, bleeding or possible damage to nerves or blood vessels. Postoperative stiffness, Frozen shoulder can occur postoperatively and Dr Reddy will advise you of their management.  

Postoperative recovery and rehabilitation

Dr Reddy as well as the Physiotherapist will see you on day 1 following surgery and demonstrate exercises to be performed at home as well as advise on things to do and not to do.

It is important that you follow the advice and rehabilitation guidelines to give yourself the best chance of recovery and an optimal outcome.

  • You would likely have a regional/nerve block for pain management apart from a general anaesthetic.
  • You would usually stay overnight.
  • Please take regular pain medication as advised.
  • Apply Ice packs 3-5 times for 10 min each time for the first two weeks.
  • You will need to wear the sling full time, but remove it thrice daily for 15-20 minutes each time to perform exercises. The duration of sling wear would depend on the concurrent reconstructive procedure performed.
  • Please remove the sling for a shower, resting your arm by the side. The dressings are water proof.
  • Driving is permitted only once you come out of the sling and have achieved good control of the arm and a pain-free status.
  • Please follow your therapist’s advice regarding exercises and follow the rehabilitation guidelines that you can view/download below.

Recovery time following shoulder arthroscopy depends on the indication and procedures carried out during the surgery.

Please call 08 8232 8899 if you would like to discuss shoulder arthroscopy with Dr Sunil Reddy in Adelaide.