Here are some questions that may be helpful to ask your doctor when considering shoulder surgery. We suggest you print this list and take it with you to your appointment. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of your shoulder pain to share with your doctor at the same time.
When it comes to relieving shoulder pain, there are many different treatment options. Success varies not only by each individual's shoulder but also by what's causing your shoulder pain. Care for arthritis pain, for example, often involves a combination of treatments. Be sure to consult your doctor to discuss the best treatment plan for you.
Most people will not need shoulder surgery, but in many cases, surgery may be effective in minimizing or eliminating your shoulder pain when other treatment methods have failed. Many advances have been made in recent years, allowing for less-invasive surgical procedures. Such minimally invasive procedures are revolutionizing the way patients experience and recover from surgery, often resulting in less postoperative pain, a faster recovery period, and a shorter hospital stay.
As a caregiver, you may find it helpful to understand a little about how the joint you'll be caring for works, and about the specific joint replacement surgery. There are several ways to learn about what will be happening, and these articles are a great place to start:
Shoulder replacements have been highly successful for years. Many people who have suffered from shoulder pain and arthritis have experienced relief and restored motion through total shoulder replacement. And because new materials and procedures are always being developed, the results continue to get better. The complication rate following total shoulder replacement is low. Serious complications, such as shoulder-joint infection, occur in fewer than 1.9% of patients.1 Major medical complications, such as heart attack or stroke, occur even less frequently. (Of course, chronic illnesses may increase the potential for complications.)
Rehab begins quickly. When you are back in your hospital room, you'll begin a gentle rehabilitation program to help relax the muscles around your new shoulder. You may be encouraged to get out of bed and take a few steps, and you'll continue to receive pain medication as needed.
Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball portion of the joint consists of the rounded head of the upper arm bone (humerus), and the socket portion is made up of a depression (glenoid) in the shoulder blade. The humeral head (ball) fits into the glenoid (socket) creating the joint that allows you to move your shoulder. The joint is surrounded and lined by cartilage, muscles, and tendons that provide support and stability and make it easy for you to move.