Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Shoulder Surgery at Providence Medical Center

Award-winning shoulder care is available in Kansas City, Kan.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, shoulder injuries are frequently caused by athletic activities that involve excessive, repetitive, overhead motion, such as swimming, tennis, pitching, and weightlifting. Injuries also can occur during everyday activities like washing walls, hanging curtains and gardening.

Most problems in the shoulder involve the muscles, ligaments, and tendons rather than the bones. One of the most common injuries involves the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff muscles make it possible for you to lift your arm and reach overhead. When the rotator cuff is injured, people sometimes do not recover the full shoulder function needed to participate in an athletics or activities of daily living.

Some shoulder injuries can be successfully treated with simple measures, such as bracing and rehabilitation exercises. Other injuries may require surgery to correct.

When this is the case, surgery may be necessary. Providence Medical Center's two orthopedic surgeons are fellowship-trained in shoulder surgery and sports medicine. They offer patients state-of-the-art treatments including shoulder arthroscopy and shoulder replacement surgery.

Shoulder arthroscopy

An arthroscopy is an outpatient surgery performed through small incisions. During the procedure, your orthopedic surgeon inserts the arthroscope (a small camera instrument about the size of a pencil) into your shoulder joint. The arthroscope sends the image to a television monitor. On the monitor, your surgeon can see the structures of the shoulder in detail.

Your surgeon can use arthroscopy to feel, repair or remove damaged tissue. To do this, small surgical instruments are inserted through other incisions around your shoulder.

Common arthroscopic procedures include:

  • Rotator cuff repair.
  • Bone spur removal.
  • Removal or repair of the labrum.
  • Repair of ligaments.
  • Removal of inflamed tissue or loose cartilage.
  • Repair for recurrent shoulder dislocation.

Most patients leave the hospital an hour or two after surgery, then continue recovery at home, followed by outpatient rehabilitation if ordered by the doctor.

Shoulder replacement surgery

Although shoulder joint replacement is less common than knee or hip replacement, it is just as successful in relieving joint pain.

Shoulder replacement surgery was first performed in the United States in the 1950s to treat severe shoulder fractures. Over the years, shoulder joint replacement has been used for many other painful conditions of the shoulder, such as different forms of arthritis.

Today, about 53,000 people in the U.S. have shoulder replacement surgery each year, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The decision to have shoulder replacement surgery should be a cooperative one made by you, your family, your primary care doctor, and your orthopedic surgeon. The process of making this decision typically begins with a referral from your doctor to an orthopedic surgeon for an initial evaluation.

Recommendations for surgery are based on your pain and disability. Your doctor may recommend a shoulder replacement if your shoulder is severely damaged by arthritis or injury and you have difficulty performing daily tasks, such as reaching over your head to comb your hair or place an item on a shelf.

During a typical total shoulder replacement, the orthopedic surgeon replaces the arthritic joint surfaces with a highly polished metal ball attached to a stem, and a plastic socket.

Patients who take part in the Providence Joint Center program typically spend three to four days in the hospital, then return home to continue their recovery. Many participate in the Providence Outpatient Rehabilitation program, which can speed the return to daily activities.

For more information about shoulder replacement surgery at Providence Medical Center, schedule an appointment with one of the Providence orthopedic surgeons at 913-596-3940.