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Shoulder arthroscopy

Keyhole surgery to fix a damaged or injured shoulder

What is shoulder arthroscopy surgery?

Shoulder arthroscopy is a popular form of ‘keyhole’ surgery – so called because it is carried out through a very small incision using special instruments.

This makes it less invasive than traditional, ‘open’ surgery and means you recover more quickly afterwards. Our experienced orthopaedic surgeons successfully perform this operation regularly at all of our modern and well equipped hospitals around the country.

Why us

  • Fast access to treatment when you need it
  • Internationally and nationally renowned consultants
  • Clear, inclusive pricing
  • 98% of our patients are likely to recommend us to their family and friends
Typical Hospital Stay

Same day discharge

Type of anaesthetic


Covered by health insurance?


Procedure duration

30 minutes

Available to self-pay?


When is shoulder arthroscopy surgery needed?

You may benefit from this procedure if you have persistent pain, shoulder impingement, swelling and stiffness in your shoulder that physiotherapy has not resolved or where scans have been unable to identify a specific problem.

You can find out more information about the benefits of shoulder arthroscopy surgery in our patient information at the bottom of this page.

Find a consultant at Sussex Premier Health

Mr Jamie Buchanan

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Hemant Thakral

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Matthew Ricks

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Your initial consultation

You will have a formal consultation with your Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests such as scans or blood tests are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

What to expect on the day of your procedure

On the day of your operation, our ward staff will show you to your own private room. Your private room will have an en-suite bathroom and TV and Wi-Fi facilities.

This operation usually takes 30 minutes to an hour depending on what you are having done and you will probably be put under a general anaesthetic so you’ll be asleep throughout the procedure.

Your consultant surgeon will make a small cut in the shoulder area and inserts a tube-like telescope called an arthroscope into the joint. This is about the same thickness as a straw and has a camera on its tip. It is used to assess damage before other specialised instruments are inserted to repair any injuries to bones and soft tissues.

Often all that is needed is a ‘clean up’ where loose bone or cartilage are removed from the joint. In other cases muscles ligaments and tendons may need to be stitched together if they’ve been torn or damaged.


You will be able to return home the same day.

While you are in hospital a physiotherapist will help you with exercises that will help speed up your recovery.

Your shoulder will be sore after the operation and you may have some temporary swelling.

We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you’ve left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.

For information on your recovery time, please see our patient information sections below.

You will be advised on the steps you should take to speed up your recovery before you leave the hospital and you will probably be given a series of exercises to do every day.

You should arrange to take about a week off work. The time it takes to fully recover will depend on the extent of your shoulder injuries, your level of physical fitness before the operation and how well you follow the advice of your physiotherapist.

Most people can return to work relatively quickly, but it may be longer if your job involves lifting or carrying. Follow your surgeon’s advice about going back to your usual physical activities and sports.

Your consultant will give you detailed instructions based on your lifestyle and the outcome of your arthroscopy.

On rare occasions, complications following surgery can occur.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, please call our nursing team on 01424 757459

  • the wound becomes hot, red or swollen
  • the wound oozes or bleeds
  • you feel unwell and have a fever or high temperature

Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.

Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still here when you need us.

After your operation we will provide you with all the appropriate medication, physiotherapy exercises, advice on what you should and shouldn’t do.

Typically your consultant will want to see you after your treatment to see how you’re doing, a follow up appointment will be made for you before you leave the hospital. You might also be seen by a physiotherapist.

If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery you can call and speak to a member of the nursing team at any time, please call 01424 757459.

You may benefit from this procedure if you have persistent pain, shoulder impingement, swelling and stiffness in your shoulder that physiotherapy has not resolved or where scans have been unable to identify a specific problem.

It can be used in a number of ways, including:

  • to repair damaged cartilage
  • to repair torn tendons (such as the rotator cuff)
  • to remove loose fragments of bone or cartilage
  • to drain excess fluid
  • to treat frozen shoulder
  • to improve mobility and reduce pain if you’re suffering from arthritis.

As the equipment needed for this operation is so small, only minor cuts are made to the skin and the healing time is much quicker than it would be for a traditional operation. This means:

  • less pain afterwards
  • less risk of infection
  • you can sometimes go home the same day
  • you should be able to get back to your normal level of physical activity more quickly.

Your surgery will be performed by your consultant surgeon.

Interested in finding out more?

Speak to a member of our team

Phone01424 757400

Enquiry form

DD slash MM slash YYYY

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