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When to Consider a Shoulder Replacement

When to Consider a Shoulder Replacement

According to the Veterans Administration, shoulder pain and stiffness affect millions of Americans — about 70% of the population. Even more alarming: As many as half experience recurrent symptoms a year after shoulder rehabilitation therapy.

J. Michael Bennett, MD, PA, helps patients finally find a solution for chronic or recurrent shoulder pain with state-of-the-art shoulder replacement surgery. In this post, learn if shoulder replacement is a good choice for you.

Why your shoulder hurts

Shoulder pain is common for a good reason: Most of us use our shoulders much more than we may even realize. Even a mild injury can cause significant pain and mobility problems. Plus, the shoulder joint is complex, which means it can be injured in many ways.

Some types of shoulder pain can be treated with conservative treatments, like:

Often, a combination of treatments helps relieve pain and the inflammation that causes it.

But although these approaches can be very effective in many types of acute shoulder problems, there are times when conservative management isn’t enough to provide long-term pain relief and restore shoulder joint function. In those instances, shoulder replacement therapy may be a good fit.

When shoulder replacement makes sense

Dr. Bennett thoroughly evaluates your shoulder joint before recommending shoulder replacement surgery or any therapy. In addition to an office exam, you’ll have diagnostic imaging of the joint. In some cases, Dr. Bennett may perform a minimally invasive procedure called arthroscopy to see inside your joint using a special scope equipped with a tiny camera.

Shoulder surgery may be recommended after a severe trauma irreparably damaging the joint. More often, shoulder surgery is used to replace a joint that’s been badly damaged by arthritis.

There are several types of arthritis, all of which involve progressive joint surface damage. Arthritis causes inflammation inside the joint, and over time, the inflammatory process causes the joint surface to wear away—friction inside the joint increases, leading to pain, stiffness, and more inflammation.

Avascular necrosis (or osteonecrosis) is another chronic condition that can lead to shoulder replacement surgery. In this condition, the blood supply to the joint is disrupted, causing the bone tissue to eventually die off. Shoulder replacement surgery focuses on replacing either the entire joint or the part affected by the condition — typically the top of the upper arm bone (humerus).

The right treatment for your shoulder pain

Shoulder pain doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need surgery. Dr. Bennett is skilled in multiple therapies and procedures to relieve pain and restore shoulder function. To learn more about shoulder replacement surgery and whether it’s the best choice, book an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Bennett today.

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