Shoulder Arthroscopy

What is arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a procedure that allows your orthopedic surgeon to look at the surface of your joints. The procedure can be used to diagnose joint problems, perform surgery or monitor disease. The procedure is often used to treat knee, hip, wrist, ankle, and shoulder injuries.

How does it work?

During shoulder arthroscopy your doctor will insert a camera into your shoulder joint. Images will then be displayed on screens for your orthopedic surgeon to see as he works with small surgical tools. The surgical equipment used in arthroscopy is particularly small, which means that the incisions made in the body will be small, less painful, and will heal much quicker than those made in traditional open surgery.

When do you need shoulder arthroscopy?

Shoulder arthroscopy is often performed for the following:

  • Rotator cuff repair
    A rotator cuff tear is a common shoulder injury, which can cause considerable discomfort and pain. When a rotator cuff tendon tears, the tendon pulls away from the bone, damaging the soft tissue or, in some cases, splitting the soft tissue completely. Dr Pirjol performs rotator cuff repair surgery according to the latest and most successful techniques using the arthroscopic suture bridge technique.
  • Removal of bone spurs
    A common cause of shoulder pain, impingement occurs when structures within the shoulder (such as tendons and bones) rub together, causing the development of bone spurs. Impingement can be treated with cortisone injections and sports physiotherapy. Arthroscopic surgery might be required to remove the bone spurs.
  • Labrum repairs
    Labral tears often occur after a fall or sharp blow to the shoulder, or with throwing and pulling sport injuries. Tears can be repaired with arthroscopy.
  • Shoulder dislocations
    The shoulder joint is among the easiest joint in the body to dislocate. Dislocations can be treated with sports physiotherapy, although repeated dislocations can cause lasting damage. In this case, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend arthroscopy.
  • Various sport injuries
    Sport injuries in the knee and shoulder are among the most common conditions treated by Dr Pirjol. His use of minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery ensures patients will recover with as little pain and discomfort as possible.

How do I prepare for shoulder arthroscopy?

Your orthopedic surgeon will conduct a thorough physical examination and order X-rays and most probably an MRI scan before considering surgery. During the arthroscopic surgery, you will be placed in seated position on the operating theatre table. Your orthopedic surgeon will make small incisions in your shoulder, and insert instruments to repair your injury. The latest surgical technology will allow your surgeon to perform techniques like tying knots, anchoring stiches to the bone and passing sutures through small incisions.

How long will recovery take?

Recovery will depend on the severity of your injury, as well as your personal condition. Speak to your orthopedic surgeon about rehabilitation, physical therapy, and any lifestyle changes that might be required. Recovery from arthroscopy is generally much quicker than traditional open surgery, but your doctor will advise you on methods of reducing discomfort after your surgery.


Dr Gabriel Pirjol is based at St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban and also consults and operates from Gateway Hospital in Umhlanga, Westville Hospital and Malvern Medicross.


Telephone : +27 31 202 5463

Email :

Address : Suite 24 Chelmsford Medical Centre
St Augustine's Hospital
107 J B Marks Road
Berea, 4001