Think about all the ways you can move your arm — above, behind, to the side, and in front of your body. All of this movement is dependent upon a healthy shoulder joint. The flexibility needed in this ball-and-socket joint places your shoulder at high risk of injury and instability.
The first step in repairing an injured shoulder is usually rehabilitative measures, such as physical therapy. This treatment might be successful, or it may just prove that the injury is too severe and surgery is needed.
Here are five of the most common surgical interventions for shoulders that orthopedic surgeon J. Michael Bennett, MD, performs.
Rotator cuff repair is one of the most common shoulder surgeries performed today. It’s used to identify the damaged portion of your rotator cuff, and then clean and reattach the torn or injured tendons. There are two surgical approaches used to repair rotator cuff tears:
The method Dr. Bennett chooses depends on the severity and location of the damage.
The traditional or open approach requires a surgical incision that’s several inches long, allowing Dr. Bennett to repair the rotator cuff. Dr. Bennett can also fix your rotator cuff through an arthroscopic approach, in which he makes small incisions and performs the repair work with the assistance of cameras.
During this procedure, Dr. Bennett removes your natural ball and socket shoulder joint and replaces it with an artificial ball made of metal and a plastic socket. Total shoulder replacements are performed for advanced arthritis or complex fractures and injuries in which other surgical techniques aren’t likely to be successful.
Adhesive capsulitis, also called frozen shoulder, causes stiffness and pain in the joint, and will eventually make the shoulder hard to move. This condition is most common in people between 40 and 60 years old and is more common in women.
During surgery, Dr. Bennett’s goal is to stretch and release stiffness in the joint capsule. He cuts through tight portions of the capsule using pencil-sized instruments that he places inside your shoulder through small incisions. While you’re under anesthesia, he may also manipulate the shoulder, or force it to move, in an attempt to loosen the capsule and scar tissue.
The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is where the collarbone and the shoulder bone meet. It’s called the AC joint because the part of the shoulder blade that touches the collarbone is known as the acromion. Conditions in the AC joint include fractures, separations, and arthritis.
If non-surgical treatments fail, Dr. Bennett might recommend surgery to remove the end of the collarbone. He does the repair through several small incisions using an arthroscope.
Most patients go home in a sling on the same day as the surgery. Full recovery varies from one patient to the next, but most patients are back to full activity in about three months.
Impingement syndrome is sometimes called bursitis or rotator cuff tendonitis. It happens when the tendons of your rotator cuff are trapped on and off, and they are compressed when you move, which causes damage to the tendons and bursa (cushions) in the joint space.
To correct impingement syndrome, Dr. Bennett performs a procedure known as subacromial decompression, which aims to increase the space between the acromion and the rotator cuff. He might also remove the bursa to create more space so the rotator cuff can glide with movement and not get pinched.
No matter what’s going on inside your shoulder, if you need surgery, Dr. Bennett can help. Give one of our three offices a call today or book online for your consultation.