Back to Shoulder Pain Overview
Shoulder Pain - Surgical Options
- Arthroscopic Instability Repair
- Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair
- Reverse Shoulder Replacement
- Shoulder Impingement Surgery
- Total Shoulder Replacement
Arthritis or injury can also damage the shoulder joint preventing a person from lifting their arm. In severe cases, the only treatment available is shoulder joint replacement surgery. South Bend Orthopaedics, locations in South Bend, Mishawaka, Plymouth and LaPorte Indiana, performs both “shoulder replacement” and “reverse shoulder replacement” surgery. Shoulder replacement surgery has been around since the 1950s and was originally used for severe fractures, but because of its success, it has since been broadened to address arthritis. Today, about 23,000 people in the U.S. have shoulder replacement surgery. Patients with bone-on-bone contact are typically good candidates for shoulder replacement surgery, where an artificial ball and socket joint is installed into the shoulder.
Reverse shoulder replacement is another variation that was developed in the 1980s. This is used for those with completely torn rotator cuffs or have had a shoulder replacement surgery that did not relieve symptoms or restore motion significantly. In reverse shoulder replacement surgery, the position of the ball and socket are “reversed” where the ball is applied to the shoulder and the plastic socket is attached to the upper arm. This enables the person to lift the arm using a different muscle than the rotator cuff.
This minimally invasive procedure is often performed on an outpatient basis. Shoulder impingement helps relieve pain by decompressing the small enclosed area around the rotator tendon of the shoulder joint. During the procedure, the bursa is removed and the orthopaedic surgeon trims back the acromion bone to allow for normal pain-free motion. In most cases, this procedure is performed arthroscopically.
Minimally invasive techniques (also known as arthroscopy) and improved tools allow orthopedic surgeons to fix rotator cuff tears usually through 3-4 small incisions, less than ½ inch. The rotator cuff tear is repaired by suturing the torn tendon back to the humerus. Recovery is less painful and scars are less noticeable.
During surgery for a rotator cuff tear, the surgeon removes debris from the damaged shoulder cuff tendon. This is called a debridement and is typically completed arthroscopically. Next, if bone spurs are present, the surgeon will next smooth the acromion area to prevent the acromion from pinching the tendon.