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Types of Shoulder Surgery

The type of procedure you will require will be determined before your surgery. Whenever possible, your surgeon will use the least-invasive approach available, which allows for the least risk of complications and fastest recovery after the procedure.

Total Shoulder Replacement/ Reverse Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder replacement surgery has been performed in the United States since the 1950s, and through the years, it has proven to be one of the most effective treatments to relieve painful shoulder conditions, from fractures to different forms of arthritis.

Due to the way the anatomy of the shoulder is structured, the shoulder should offer a greater range of motion than any other joint in the body. Total shoulder replacement is considered when conditions cause severe pain and disability, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, avascular necrosis, rotator cuff tear arthropathy and others.

Total shoulder replacement surgery involves replacing the shoulder joint surfaces with a metal ball attached to a stem and a plastic socket. Because the metal ball is highly polished, it offers reduces the friction that can result from various shoulder conditions and injuries. The new shoulder joint can be cemented or “press fit” into the bone, depending on how healthy or soft the bone structure may be.

Reverse shoulder replacement is generally used for people who have completely torn rotator cuffs, cuff tear arthropathy, or have had a previous shoulder replacement that failed. In a reverse shoulder replacement, the socket and metal ball are switched, with the ball attached to the shoulder bone and the socket attached to the upper arm bone. With this procedure, you are able to use another muscle, called the deltoid muscle, rather than the rotator cuff to lift and use your arm.

Learn more by reviewing our Total Shoulder Replacement Care Patient Handbook.

Shoulder Arthroscopy

Should arthroscopy is a minimally invasive approach to repairing muscle and tendon damage in a shoulder.

Orthopedic surgeons use arthroscopy to diagnose and treat joint problems. An arthroscope is a small, tube-shaped instrument that is used to look inside a joint. It consists of a system of lenses, a small video camera, and a light for viewing. The camera is connected to a monitoring system that allows the doctor to view a joint through a very small incision. The arthroscope is often used in conjunction with other tools that are inserted through another incision.

The small incisions minimize the risk of infection following the procedure while enabling you to heal faster than with conventional “open” surgery, which requires wider incisions and is a more complicated procedure.

Shoulder arthroscopy is often used to inspect the tissues of your shoulder joint, as well as the cartilage, bones, tendons and ligaments around the joint. If the need for repaid is seen, the surgeon can undertake the repairs during the procedure. That may include removing damaged tissue, suturing torn muscles, tendon or cartilage, reattaching tendons to bone or more. The procedure is often used to repair rotator cuffs and to treat shoulder instability.

Shoulder arthroscopy may also be used for impingement syndrome, allowing the surgeon to remove damaged or inflamed tissue from around the joint, or to correct bone spurs — called acromion — that can cause pain and inflammation in the shoulder. It also may be used to cut a specific ligament that could be limiting the shoulder’s range of motion.

Humerus/Clavicle Fracture Repair

The shoulder is comprised of three major bones: the collarbone, or clavicle; the shoulder blade, or scapula; and the upper arm bone, or humerus.

Fracturing the clavicle is one of the most common shoulder injuries, often caused by a fall onto the shoulder. Traditionally, clavicle fractures have been treated nonsurgically, with a sling or “figure eight” strap worn for weeks. Though range of motion returns as pain subsides, a return to strenuous activity — such as sports — cannot occur until the fracture appears fully healed on X-ray images. Surgical repair of fractured clavicles, which may include placing plates and screws or even a rod in the bone, has shown some benefits. However, consideration of a surgical solution to clavicle fractures must be based on a range of factors, including the activity level of the patient, age and more.

Fractures to the humerus usually occur due to falling onto the arm. In younger patients, these simple fractures usually include dislocation of the shoulder joint, which can be treated by putting the shoulder back into place. An X-ray can determine if and where the fracture has occurred and the shoulder will often be immobilized with a sling.

However, if the fracture is out of position or the fracture has produced bone fragments that are severely displaced, surgery may be necessary. This may include repair of the fracture with devices such as plates, screws and wires. These injuries are more common among older populations.

Tanner Ortho and Spine Center also offers hand, wrist and elbow surgery. Learn more at this link.

To make an appointment with an orthopedics specialist, request an appointment online or call 770.214.CARE.

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