Peri-operative complications in pediatric and adolescent shoulder arthroscopy

Eric W. Edmonds, Laura W. Lewallen, Michael Murphy, Diane Dahm, Amy L. McIntosh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Shoulder arthroscopy is not common in the pediatric and adolescent population, but the frequency may be on the rise. The purpose of the study was to determine the incidence of acute complications of arthroscopic shoulder surgery in children and adolescents. Methods: A retrospective, cross-sectional review was performed identifying patients aged 18 years or less who underwent an arthroscopic shoulder procedure from 1997 to 2009 at Institution 1 and 2007 to 2010 at Institution 2. Exclusion criteria included open procedures and missing records. Demographic and surgical data were collected, including intra-operative and post-operative complications during the first 6 months. The complications were divided into minor (no secondary treatment) and major (secondary treatment rendered). Results: Two hundred children, mean age 15.9 years, met criteria and 73 % were boys. All procedures were performed under general anesthesia, but 51 % included inter-scalene regional anesthesia. There were 16 (8.0 %) total complications recorded. Major complications occurred in five (2.5 %) patients, including two tendinitis/bursitis requiring injections, one broken pain pump catheter requiring an accessory incision to retrieve, one pain control readmission, and one laceration of the cephalic vein requiring ligation. Minor complications occurred in 11 (5.5 %) patients, including allergic reactions, transient dysesthesias, headaches, bronchitis, syncope, transient hypotension, and uvula swelling. Conclusion: Although we found no seriously deleterious outcomes, it is important to recognize that an additional service was rendered for 2.5 % of children undergoing shoulder arthroscopy. The events that did occur may be preventable and this study should serve as a baseline to improve quality and safety of shoulder arthroscopy in the pediatric population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-344
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Children's Orthopaedics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute complications
  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Pediatric
  • Shoulder arthroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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