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Shoulder Arthroscopy


Shoulder arthroscopy is a surgery to examine or repair your damaged or diseased shoulder joint.


The week before your surgery:

  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • Tell your caregiver if you know or think you might be pregnant.
  • You may need to have blood tests or x-rays. Ask your caregiver for more information about these and other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.

The night before your surgery:

  • You may be given medicine to help you sleep.
  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital.
  • Do not wear contact lenses on the day of your surgery. You may wear glasses.
  • Caregivers will insert an IV into your vein. You may be given liquids and medicine through the IV.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.


What will happen:

  • General or local anesthesia will be given to keep you free from pain during the surgery. Caregivers may check your shoulder by moving your arms in different directions and comparing both shoulders. You may be placed on your side. Your arm will be held in traction (device with weight) if you are lying on your side.
  • Caregivers will make an incision in your shoulder and put liquid inside the joint. Your caregiver will use an arthroscope to check all parts of your shoulder joint. This scope is a long tube with a magnifying glass and a light on the end to allow your caregiver to look inside and repair your shoulder. Additional small incisions will be made in different places around your shoulder. Caregivers will put small tools into these incisions to fix or remove tissue in your shoulder. The incisions will be closed with stitches and wrapped with a bandage. Your arm will be put in a sling to keep your shoulder from moving while it heals.

After surgery:

You are taken to a room where your heart and breathing will be monitored. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. A bandage may cover wounds to help prevent infection. You may be able to go home after some time passes. An adult will need to drive you home and should stay with you for 24 hours. If you cannot go home, you will be taken to a hospital room.


  • You cannot make it to your surgery on time.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have a skin infection or an infected wound near the injured shoulder.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • The problems for which you are having the arthroscopy get worse.
  • Your pain becomes severe, or you have trouble moving your shoulder.


Shoulder arthroscopy may increase your risk of infection or bleeding. Other parts of the shoulder, such as nerves, blood vessels, or ligaments may be damaged. Your shoulder may become stiff, numb, or more painful. Medicines and devices used during surgery may cause an allergic reaction. Your shoulder problem may come back after treatment. Without treatment, the pain and problems you have with your shoulder may get worse.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Shoulder Arthroscopy (Precare)

Micromedex® Care Notes