Arthroscopic Shoulder Debridement

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Partial-thickness rotator cuff tear

  • Local skin infection or disease
  • Systemic infection
  • Other medical illness that increases surgical risk
  • Full-thickness rotator cuff tear
  • Arthroscopy tower and arthroscope
  • Arthroscopy set
  • Sterile arm traction device
  • Full-radius resector
  • Sling
Arthroscopic subacromial anatomy
  • Biceps tendon used as landmark for orientation
  • Lateral decubitus position: with camera in normal upright position, glenoid is horizontal
  • Evaluate biceps tendon as far as possible into the rotator interval.
  • Directing lens superiorly allows view of rotator cuff and insertion into greater tuberosity.
  • Rotator cuff arch, just medial to tendinous insertion
  • Small vessels enter inferior to the cuff in a bare area (no articular cartilage covering).
  • Subacromial bursa extends at least 2 cm anterior to the anterior edge of the acromion and to the midacromion posteriorly.
  • Medially, you can see the acromioclavicular joint and coracoacromial ligament as it ascends under the acromion.
  • The subdeltoid bursa is approximately 4 cm from the acromial edge, with the axillary nerve always lateral to the bursa, on average 0.8 cm.

Sample excerpt does not include step-by-step text instructions for performing this procedure
The full content of this section includes:
  • Step-by-step text instructions for performing the procedure
  • Clinical pearls providing practical clinical tips from medical experts
  • Patient safety guidelines consistent with Joint Commission and OHSA standards
  • Links to medical evidence and related procedures

  • Use sling until comfort permits removal
  • Exercises:
    • Codman pendulum exercises first day
    • Active-assisted range-of-motion and isometric strengthening the first week
    • Resistance exercises with elastic tubing second week
    • Continue strengthening for 3 months.
  • Activities of daily living as tolerated
  • Return to sports when they have achieved full pain-free range of motion and strength.
  • Failure of the procedure and/or persistent symptoms (most common complication)
  • Neurologic injury
  • Infection
  • Subclavian vein thrombosis

Although not as successful as repair of a rotator cuff tear, debridement of partial thickness tears does result in satisfactory subjective scores in the majority of patients.

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