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Just Like the Pros - Arthroscopic Shoulder: October 27, 2011

The shoulder, it’s a relatively unstable joint which takes a lot of wear and tear. It’s a common point of injuries on the playing field.

“We see kind of two basic shoulder injuries. We see the rotator cuff injuries over the age of 40 and then we see the younger athletes with labral tears,” says Dr. Andrew Follweiler, an orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.

Engaging in high-energy sports can have a big impact on the shoulder.

“What happens is the tendon tears off of the bone and when that happens it causes pain and lack of function,” says Dr. Follweiler.

To get athletes back in the game, doctors often turn to minimally invasive, arthroscopic shoulder surgery. The procedure includes a small camera to locate the tear and is performed through a few small holes.

“The basic premise is to reattach the tendon to the bone and allow that to heal. It used to be that you had to make a larger incision, you had to damage quite a bit of the tissues around to get down before you could do the operation that you were intending to perform. As a result there was more pain, more swelling, more damage,” says Dr. Follweiler.

With arthroscopic shoulder treatment, not just athletes but everyday people get all-star treatment. In most cases they’re returning to their normal activities in a matter of weeks.

“What we’re trying to do is allow the patient to recover faster. After a certain appropriate amount of rehabilitation, time for the healing, strengthening, my goal is to have everybody 100% no matter what their age is,” says Dr. Follweiler.

Good news to those with a shoulder injury waiting to get back to the game of life.