If you were advised to get shoulder replacement surgery, you may be wondering if it’s a good idea to keep delaying it. The decision you ultimately make depends on your unique situation. Let’s take a look at what exactly a shoulder replacement surgery is for, when it’s better to put it off for later in life, and when you should get the procedure done immediately.
Shoulder Replacement Surgery Basics
Shoulder replacement surgery is designed to alleviate damage and pain caused by a deteriorated shoulder joint. The shoulder joint connects the shoulder blade, upper arm bone, and collarbone. The ends of these bones are covered with a rubbery substance called cartilage, which lets the bones glide against each other without causing damage to any of the bones.
When an injury or health condition causes the cartilage to deteriorate in the shoulder joint, the bones begin to rub against each other, causing inflammation, pain, swelling, and eventual deterioration of the joint. Shoulder replacement surgery involves removing the damaged parts of the shoulder and replacing them with artificial parts called prostheses, which perform the same duties.
Reasons to Get Shoulder Replacement Surgery
Like most replacement surgeries, shoulder replacements have to be redone every couple of decades. Because of this, doctors recommend shoulder replacement surgery to individuals who will likely live out the rest of their lives without needing another procedure. However, this doesn’t mean that younger patients can’t be good candidates for shoulder replacement surgery.
Shoulder replacement surgery is a good treatment method when symptoms are significantly affecting your quality of life, and other treatment methods have completely failed to alleviate them. This means severe pain is preventing you from getting comfortable day or night, there is weakness or immobility in your upper arm, and the pain is interfering with you performing everyday activities like dressing yourself and taking a shower or bath.
In situations like these, shoulder replacement surgery may be the only viable option to fix the deteriorated joint, and patients should consider getting the procedure done as soon as possible no matter what age they are. But just be sure you have truly exhausted all other options first before going forward with the surgery.
Reasons to Delay Shoulder Replacement Surgery
Shoulder replacement surgery is an extensive surgical procedure that will involve a lot of time off to heal, followed by extensive physical therapy to regain strength and flexibility in the shoulder. Because of this, shoulder replacement surgery should only be performed when absolutely necessary and when all other viable treatment options have failed. Shoulder replacement surgery should be delayed if the pain and symptoms you experience are mild or moderate.
In many cases, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, physical therapy, and alternative therapies can help reduce unwanted symptoms. These treatment methods have helped countless people control their pain and regain functionality of their shoulders. If these methods are working for you, continue to use them for as long as possible – and push back plans to get shoulder replacement surgery.
Expert Shoulder Specialists in Maryland
If you are suffering from shoulder pain and want to find a solution for it, consider seeing the experts at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder. Our orthopedic surgeons specialize in problems with the shoulder – along with wrist, hand, and elbow – and we offer the latest advanced treatment options suited to you.
Call (410) 296-6232 to make an appointment today. You can also request an appointment online.