The shoulder is the body’s most flexible joint. However, all that flexibility means that the shoulder can become more easily injured than other joints.
Some common reasons why people require shoulder treatment include:
If you have a painful shoulder that doesn’t improve with rest and over-the-counter pain medications, it may be time to see an orthopedic doctor. Dr. Allen Van, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon at the Perry Memorial Orthopedic Clinic, offers patients comprehensive care for shoulder conditions. These include minimally invasive surgery approaches as well as total shoulder replacement.
Patients often see Dr. Van after rest and over-the-counter medications have not improved their shoulder pain. After he diagnoses the cause of shoulder pain, some patients are helped by physical therapy or therapeutic injections that provide pain relief. However, others require surgery to find lasting pain relief.
Shoulder surgeries performed at the Perry Memorial Orthopedic Clinic include:
When non-surgical treatments are not enough to manage shoulder pain, shoulder arthroscopy is an option for many patients. This approach works especially well for patients who need repairs to the tendons, such as with those with torn rotator cuffs. It might also be used to repair damaged muscle, ligaments or cartilage in the shoulder.
With minimally invasive shoulder surgery, Dr. Van makes only a few small cuts. He inserts an instrument called an arthroscope, a thin tube that contains a tiny camera, through one of these incisions. This allows him to see inside the shoulder joint. He then inserts other thin surgical instruments to repair the shoulder tissues.
In some cases, a total shoulder replacement is needed to fully treat the injury or arthritic damage to the shoulder joint. With this surgery, Dr. Van replaces the end of the humerus (upper arm bone) that fits into the shoulder joint with a metal ball. He fits the shoulder socket with a plastic cup to receive this metal ball. Because this new joint has artificial parts that glide together smoothly, the patient no longer experiences shoulder pain.
When patients have shoulder arthritis as well as a torn rotator cuff, they do better with a reverse total shoulder replacement. This procedure is similar to a total shoulder replacement (see above), but Dr. Van uses a metal cup for the shoulder socket and a plastic ball at the end of the humerus. Because this reverse set-up relies on different shoulder muscles to move the joint, it relieves strain on the rotator cuff.