Monday, 04 March 2013 22:19

Shoulder Surgery

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Your shoulder is the most mobile joint in your body. It is held in place by a group of muscles and tendons called the rotator cuff.

Because of your shoulder’s high mobility, it is also sensitive to acute and chronic lesions that could cause pain or limited mobility and range of motion. Some of these lesions could damage or rupture the muscles and tendons in the rotator cuff.

During the procedure, the orthopedic surgeon makes a small incision on your shoulder. Through the incision, he will insert a small camera to assess your shoulder’s internal condition. After visualizing the damage, your surgeon will decide if your problem can be resolved through a minimally invasive procedure, or through a traditional approach such as open surgery.

The procedure could be very simple, or it could be complex depending on the specific causes of your injury. If your muscle or tendon is ruptured, the surgeon will either have to reattach it to the bone, or insert a graft.

Once your surgery is completed, your shoulder will be held in place by a brace. The brace will protect your shoulder from moving around until is safe to do so. Depending on your specific case, your orthopedic surgeon may advise you about other treatment options.

Length of the procedure: 1.5 to 2 hours.

Hospital Stay: Outpatient or overnight depending on your particular condition.

Recovery before travelling home: Patients should expect to fly home approximately 10 days after discharge.

When do I know I need Rotator cuff repair surgery:

Pain, especially when extending your arm overhead
Limited range of motion and weakness, or chronic luxation (dislocation)
A bone spur or inflammation around the rotator cuff
Acute rupture due to injury

Procedure details:

This procedure can be performed under general anesthesia or an area block with sedation. The choice of anesthesia will be based on your preference and particular risk. The anesthesiologist will also discuss with you particular approaches to pain management for the immediate period after the surgery.

During the procedure the orthopedic surgeon will make several incisions (about ½ inch each) from the back to the front in your shoulder. He will use these small holes to access your shoulder joint, clean, and repair the damage.

Once your surgeon can visualize the shoulder joint, he will then use special instruments to clean the articulation of debris and inflammation tissue. After cleaning, the surgeon will assess the size and location of the tear and prepare the appropriate area for anchoring the sutures used to repair your damaged muscles and/or tendons.

You will leave the operating room with bandages to protect your surgical incision. You might also have a special support to immobilize your shoulder(s).

Results of rotator cuff repair:

The success rate for rotator cuff repair is very high and most patients experience substantial relief from their shoulder pain. To fully regain your strength on your shoulders , however, most patients require long-term physical therapy.

Both open and laparoscopic surgery have different success rates which depend on the type of damage and the surgeon’s experience and training. You should discuss with your surgeon the best option for your specific case.

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