A shoulder injury or degenerative shoulder condition can limit your ability to do your job, perform household chores, or enjoy your favorite recreational activities. In some cases, surgery offers the most reliable and successful option for repairing the shoulder and restoring your quality of life. Take a look at some key points about different types of shoulder surgery.
Before You Undergo Shoulder Surgery
Your doctor may recommend a course of physical therapy before considering surgery, and for good reason. Conservative treatments such as physical therapy exercises, massage, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation can sometimes heal a shoulder problem, making surgery unnecessary. (One Finnish study found that conservative care worked just as well as surgery for a particular type of rotator cuff tear.) However, if your shoulder damage or deterioration proves too severe to respond well to physical therapy, it's time to schedule surgery.
Five Most Common Shoulder Surgeries
The shoulder contains many complex structures which must work together correctly to give the joint its extraordinarily wide range of motion. Damage to any of these structures might require surgical treatment before the joint will function properly and comfortably again. Here are five types of shoulder surgeries commonly performed by orthopedic specialists.
- Rotator Cuff Repair - this most common of all shoulder surgeries involves fixing damage in the tendons that permit shoulder motion. An arthroscopic device can help the surgeon view the damage via a camera and then make repairs with minimal incisions. A large rotator cuff tear may require a more open traditional surgery to reattach torn tendons.
- Total Shoulder Replacement - Advanced arthritis, complex fractures, or other severe damage may call for a total shoulder replacement. The surgeon removes the damaged ball and socket of the joint, replacing them with a metal ball and a plastic socket. However, if the socket appears to be in good condition, only the ball of the joint may need replacing or resurfacing. This kind of alternative to a total shoulder replacement is called a hemiarthroplasty.
- Arthroscopy for Frozen Shoulder - Frozen shoulder (also called adhesive capsulitis) often occurs after a shoulder has been held immobile until it grows extremely stiff and painful. Surgeons can release the tightness in these tissues through a minimally invasive procedure called arthroscopic capsular release. Instead of one large incision, several small incisions allow the surgeon to operate through a special instrument-equipped tube called an arthroscopy. This approach leaves a smaller wound that can heal more easily and with less postoperative discomfort.
- AC Joint Repair - The acromioclavicular (AC) joint connects the shoulder blade to your collarbone. If you have a fracture, separation, or severe arthritis in this joint, you may benefit from surgical treatment. Fortunately, since your shoulder doesn't actually rely on the bit of collarbone that touches the shoulder blade for its functionality, your surgeon can relieve your pain simply by removing the offending bit of bone and allowing the rest of the joint to heal over a period of four to six weeks.
- Arthroscopy for Impingement Syndrome - In impingement syndrome, a piece of tendon or bursa (a sac that normally limits friction within the shoulder joint) gets pinched by bone spurs or other bony protrusions, resulting in tendonitis, bursitis, and/or rotator cuff injuries. Your surgeon can usually correct this painful problem by performing surgery to remove the bone creating the impingement. In some cases, the surgeon may remove an inflamed, damaged bursa. Arthroscopic surgical techniques can often achieve these goals, although severe impingement syndrome might require an open surgery instead.
Outpatient Shoulder Surgery at Prime Surgical Suites
If you suffer from a debilitating shoulder problem that might require surgery, you can count on Prime Surgical Suites. Our experienced orthopedic team can evaluate your condition, determine whether conservative care stands a good chance of easing the issue without surgery, and advise you on whatever surgical options you may need.
At Prime Surgical Suites, we provide state-of-the-art, cost-effective musculoskeletal surgical care in a convenient and comfortable outpatient setting for patients of all ages. Located in RiverCrest Medical Park, we are the region's first outpatient center focused exclusively on orthopedics. Our physician-led center will help restore your active lifestyle and well-being with compassion and orthopedic excellence.