The shoulder connects the arm to the upper body. It is used daily, and this frequent use makes it susceptible to injury. Surgery to repair the shoulder is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the country. Different types of surgeries address different problems. Fractures, arthritis, a torn rotator cuff — there are different surgeries to treat each of these issues. Today, what once required open shoulder surgery may be performed using a minimally invasive technique.
Are You Ready For Surgery?
The best way to determine whether it’s time for shoulder surgery is to consult an orthopedic surgeon. They will recommend surgery if, based on their evaluation, the benefits of the procedure outweigh the risks for your specific situation. Symptoms such as severe pain, loss of mobility and range of motion, and a decrease in quality of life are all important considerations for shoulder surgery. Shoulder injuries from traumatic incidents usually need surgical treatment, as well.
The Most Common Shoulder Surgeries Explained
The most common shoulder surgeries include fracture repair, debridement surgery, rotator cuff repair, shoulder replacement surgery, and reverse shoulder replacement surgery.
Shoulder fractures from a traumatic incident such as a vehicular accident may need surgical treatment. Broken bones that have moved out of alignment or have pierced through the skin need surgery. Debridement surgery involves the removal of loose cartilage and bone spurs that may have formed and prevent the shoulder from healing itself, causing chronic shoulder pain.
Over 200,000 rotator cuff repairs are performed each year in the United States. During the procedure, the surgeon reattaches and stitches back the tendon to the humerus. Rotator cuff repair may be performed arthroscopically, requiring smaller incisions to carry out the surgery.
Over 50,000 shoulder replacement surgeries are performed each year in the United States. Usually recommended to patients with advanced shoulder osteoarthritis, it involves replacing the damaged shoulder joint with metal and plastic artificial parts. A metal ball with a stem and a plastic spacer will replace the shoulder joint. A shoulder replacement may also be performed arthroscopically.
Reverse shoulder replacement surgery is usually recommended for patients with an unstable rotator cuff. During this procedure, the joint is replaced with metal and plastic parts like in regular shoulder replacement surgery, except the metal ball part is placed in the area of the socket, while the plastic is placed on the area of the arm. Screws are used to hold the prosthesis in place — into the bone of the shoulder blade.
All postoperative patients should be committed to a physical rehabilitation program after the procedure to get back the full function of their shoulder. It can take several weeks to fully heal and get strength back in the shoulder.
Shoulder Surgeon in Maryland
If you have a shoulder problem that you think could be fixed by surgery, come in for an evaluation at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder. Our orthopedic surgeons are fellowship-trained in shoulder surgery and can successfully carry out all the most common shoulder surgeries as well as rare and highly complex ones.
We have a total of six locations throughout Maryland. We serve the Lutherville, Bel Air, Clarksville, Eldersburg, Pasadena, and Westminster areas. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with an upper extremity surgeon, call our main clinic at (410) 296-6232 or use our online request form.