Using this guide What's covered

Here you’ll find answers to many of your questions about shoulder arthroscopy, (also known as keyhole shoulder surgery). Learn how it’s done, what it may cost, what your recovery may be like, and more.

For personal insights, see our patient experience videos in which HCF members talk frankly about their preparation, surgery and recovery.

Cost indicator

Discover the typical out-of-pocket costs HCF members can expect to pay for shoulder arthroscopy and learn how your choice of surgeon and hospital affect that cost.

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The basics

What’s shoulder arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy can be used to identify and repair damage to various parts of your shoulder joint, such as a rotator cuff tendon, ligament or labrum (the cartilage lining the rim of your shoulder joint). It can be used to remove loose fragments of bone or bony spurs. It can also release tight tissues which are causing pain and stiffness in your shoulder.

If you repeatedly dislocate your shoulder, your surgeon may recommend this surgery to stabilise the joint. Many shoulder surgeries are now done using arthroscopic (keyhole) techniques.

How’s it done?

Using a keyhole camera, known as an arthroscope, your surgeon performs the surgery through several small (1–2 cm) incisions. Images of the inside of your shoulder joint appear on a monitor. What happens during the surgery depends on your symptoms and what your surgeon sees from the images.

The details


Alternatives to shoulder arthroscopy

There may be non-surgical ways to relieve pain.
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Types of shoulder arthroscopy

Your procedure will vary, depending on your problem.
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Results vs risks of the procedure

The benefits and potential risks of shoulder arthroscopy.
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Choosing a specialist

How to find an orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in your procedure.
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Questions for your specialist

What you should ask before going ahead with surgery.
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Preparing for your procedure

Pre-operative tests and preparation.
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Your anaesthetic options

The types of anaesthesia you may be offered.
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Going to hospital

What to expect on the day of your surgery.
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Your procedure

What happens in the operating theatre.
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After your surgery

Your hospital stay.
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Recovery and aftercare

Resuming activities and watching for problems.
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Rehab for your shoulder

The importance of rehab to regaining function in your shoulder.
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People who’ve had shoulder arthroscopy talk about their preparation, hospital stay and recovery.

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Important information

Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.