Shoulder Surgery

When the shoulder joint becomes damaged due to injury, overuse or disease, it can have a dramatic impact on your daily life. Ongoing pain and reduced mobility can affect your ability to participate in activities you love and even prevent you from performing daily tasks. While many cases of shoulder pain can be treated through conservative methods like medication and physical therapy, others may require surgery to bring long-lasting relief. The staff at the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio offers a variety of shoulder surgery options to patients that are living with persistent pain they have been unable to manage through nonsurgical treatments.

Shoulder Overview

The shoulder consists of a ball-and-socket joint that is the most flexible in the body as it can move the arms from front to back, up and down and side to side. The joint consists of three bones; the humerus (bone of the upper arm), clavicle (collarbone) and scapula (shoulder blade). The socket is surrounded by soft tissue to protect it. There is also cartilage on the top of the arm bone and a thin inner lining that prevent friction and enhance comfort as the joint moves.

Is Shoulder Surgery Right for You?

Shoulder surgery can be used to treat a variety of shoulder injuries and diseases:

Rotator Cuff Tear

The rotator cuff consists of tendons and ligaments that stabilize the shoulder joint and help the arm to lift and rotate. The most common causes of a rotator cuff tear include wear and tear of the joint over time and injuries due to falls and other circumstances. While therapy can promote healing over time, rotator cuff surgery is sometimes needed when other treatments do not provide relief. Rotator cuff tears also known as supraspinatus tears, are one of the most common reasons for shoulder surgery.

Shoulder Dislocation

A shoulder dislocation is a painful occurrence where the arm comes out of the socket. In some cases, this can be caused by tears in the ligaments, often because of an injury. If dislocation becomes a recurring issue, surgery may be needed to stabilize the joint and prevent further damage.


SLAP tears involve injuries to the labrum, a rim of cartilage that goes around the shoulder socket. This type of damage can be due to an injury or significant wear-and-tear that is sometimes seen in athletes. Surgery may be needed to return the labrum to its proper position. In some cases, additional surgery may be necessary for the biceps tendon if it has also been damaged.

Bankart Tear

The bankart tear involves damage to the front area of the labrum and is usually the result of a shoulder dislocation. It is one of the most frequent ligament injuries to the shoulder joint and often requires surgical treatment. The cartilage is repaired and anchored to the shoulder to restore stability to the joint.

Clavicle Fractures

Falls typically cause fractures to the shoulder bone (clavicle). While some clavical fractures can be treated by stabilizing the joint with splints or slings, severe fractures may require surgical repair.

Impingement Syndrome

This condition involves the compression rather than the tearing of tendons in the shoulder joint. The result is pain, inflammation and often reduced mobility. Surgery may be needed to remove bone spurs leading to the compression and relieve the accompanying symptoms.

Risks and Benefits of Shoulder Surgery

Surgery always comes with both risks and benefits, which must be balanced before determining whether moving forward with the operation is the right choice. Potential benefits of shoulder surgery might include:

  • Increased range of motion
  • Reduction in pain and aching
  • Fewer restrictions on activities
  • Ability to perform daily tasks once again
  • Lower risk of additional damage to the joint

Risks are a concern with any surgery, even if their likelihood is relatively small. Some of the risks associated with shoulder surgery include:

  • Infection (antibiotics lower this risk)
  • A buildup of scar tissue could affect joint function
  • Bleeding or blood clot formation
  • Persistent pain or stiffness after the procedure
  • Possible nerve damage

Our surgeons bring extensive knowledge and experience to the operating table. They will take the time at your consultation to weigh the pros and cons of surgery to help you determine whether surgical treatment is the right choice for you.

Shoulder Surgery Options

The surgeons at the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio offer different approaches to shoulder surgery:


Arthroscopic shoulder surgery involves the insertion of a pencil-thin device with a small lens and light system through tiny incisions. The little camera produces images inside the joint that are relayed to a television monitor, allowing the surgeon to visualize the area to make an accurate diagnosis. Once diagnostics are completed, the surgeon can use additional tools through the same small incisions to make the necessary repairs. Shoulder arthroscopy can be performed on an outpatient basis in many cases, and the smaller incisions lead to minimal pain and bruising after the operation. At the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio, we can perform many of our procedures arthroscopically, including rotator cuff repair, bankart repair and acromioplasty (treatment of impingement syndrome).

Open Surgery

While arthroscopy offers benefits to the right patient, open surgery may be necessary and associated with better results for others. Despite the name, this approach also uses small incisions of just a few inches. Despite the minimal incisions, this method allows the surgeon to make a more extensive correction to the shoulder joint when necessary. The same procedures listed above under arthroscopic surgery can also be done using open techniques when needed to produce an optimal outcome.

Shoulder Replacement Surgery

When the damage to the shoulder is too severe for simple repairs to be effective, a complete replacement of the joint may be required. While shoulder replacement surgery is not as common as a hip or knee replacement, it can be the best solution for patients suffering from arthritic conditions that are not good candidates for other surgical techniques. During this procedure, the surgeon replaces the damaged portions of the joint with metal or ceramic components that stabilize and strengthen the shoulder.

Variables like anesthesia and time in the hospital will depend on the type of correction you require. Recovery time and rehabilitation needs will be based more on the type of surgery performed within the shoulder, rather than whether it is done through arthroscopic or open techniques. Your surgeon will thoroughly cover the surgical process as well as what you can expect from your recovery afterward at your initial appointments.

Recovery and Results after Shoulder Surgery

You will need to keep your shoulder as still as possible immediately following surgery, which typically involves wearing a sling for at least one week. Depending on your operation, you may have a few days in the hospital before you are released to recovery at home. You will have medication to manage post-operative pain and will be instructed on how to ice the area to minimize swelling. Once your initial healing has taken place, you can begin a physical therapy program to restore mobility and range of motion to the joint. Full recovery can take up to six months.

Shoulder surgery is often the most efficient way to repair damage to the shoulder and restore function to the joint. To learn more about your options in shoulder surgery, contact the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio today at 419-222-6622.