A Guide to Understanding the Different Types of Shoulder Surgery

The shoulder is a complex joint that allows for a wide range of motion. But, this flexibility also makes it susceptible to injury and pain. In some cases, conservative treatments such as physical therapy or medication may not be enough to ease the problem. This is where shoulder surgery comes in.

Shoulder surgery is a medical procedure that aims to repair or replace damaged bones, tendons, or ligaments in the shoulder joint. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of shoulder surgery and which one may be right for you.

Arthroscopic Surgery

One of the most common types of shoulder surgery is arthroscopic surgery, which is also called minimally invasive surgery. It is a common way to fix many shoulder problems.

An arthroscope, a very small camera, is used to look inside the shoulder joint during this type of surgery. In this surgery, small cuts allow doctors to place special tools and fix damaged tissues.

Tears in the rotator cuff, labral tears, and unstable shoulders are all conditions that might need arthroscopic surgery. Because this kind of surgery isn’t as invasive as open surgery, recovery times are faster and scars are smaller.

Open Surgery

In open surgery, also known as traditional surgery, a big cut is made in the shoulder to get to the damaged tissues. This kind of surgery is usually suggested for more complicated cases that arthroscopic surgery can’t handle well.

Total shoulder replacement is one of the most common types of open shoulder surgery. In this type of surgery, the damaged parts of the joint are replaced with artificial ones. Shoulder surgeons may suggest this kind of surgery for people who have severe arthritis or other conditions that get worse over time.

Reverse Shoulder Replacement

In reverse shoulder replacement, the ball and socket in the shoulder joint are moved from one place to another during an open surgery. People who have severe rotator cuff tears or other conditions that make a traditional total shoulder replacement less effective are usually told to get this treatment.

Mini-Open Surgery

Mini-open surgery is a mix of open surgery and arthroscopic surgery. While the incision is smaller than in open surgery, it lets surgeons fix more complicated problems than in arthroscopic surgery. This kind of surgery is for people who need extensive repairs than what can be done with arthroscopic surgery alone.

Partial Shoulder Replacement

Partial shoulder replacement or shoulder hemiarthroplasty, is a surgery that can help with certain shoulder problems. Only the damaged part of the shoulder joint is replaced during this surgery. The head of the humerus (the ball) is most often replaced.

People who have broken their shoulders or have arthritis that only affects one part of the joint are often told to have this kind of surgery. Because the healthy parts of the joint are kept, a partial shoulder replacement may have benefits. This includes letting the joint move naturally and faster healing times than a total shoulder replacement.

Learn About the Types of Shoulder Surgery

Anyone with chronic shoulder pain needs to know about the different surgical options for shoulder health. From arthroscopic surgery to mini-open surgery, these types of shoulder surgery are each best for a certain type and amount of damage.

If non-invasive treatments don’t work anymore, these kinds of shoulder surgeries can help relieve pain and make life better. Remember that the best way to make an informed choice is to talk about these options with experienced surgeons and find the best way to handle your specific situation.

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