What Should I Expect from Shoulder Repair?

Mary McMahon

A shoulder repair is a surgery on the shoulder performed to address an injury or correct a congenital abnormality. This procedure is usually done by an orthopedic surgeon and may be performed by an arm and shoulder specialist. There are a number of stages involved, from initial evaluation to rehabilitation, and it can help to know what to expect from shoulder repair before the surgery.

Chronic shoulder pain may require shoulder repair.
Chronic shoulder pain may require shoulder repair.

If a doctor believes that a patient needs a shoulder repair, the patient will be referred to a surgeon who evaluates the patient. The surgeon usually interviews the patient, conducts an examination, and looks at medical imaging studies. During the evaluation, the patient and surgeon discuss the goals and possible outcome to expect from shoulder repair, and the surgeon can talk about the options available. It may be possible to choose between several procedures, and the surgeon may also encourage the patient to think about getting a second opinion on the best shoulder treatment option.

Once the patient has found a surgeon she or he wants to work with, an appointment can be made for the shoulder repair itself. The patient will need to refrain from eating and drinking the night before the surgery, and on the day of the surgery, the patient will check into a hospital. Hospital staff will evaluate the patient to confirm that he or she is a good candidate for surgery, anesthesia will be induced, and the patient will be taken into the operating room for the procedure.

A shoulder repair can be a relatively quick procedure, or it may take hours. The length to expect from shoulder repair depends on the type of repair being reformed, the patient's condition, and the experience of the surgeon. Once the surgery is complete, the surgeon will close the incision so that the patient can be taken to recovery and monitored. Patients may need to stay several days in the hospital, or it may be possible to be released as soon as they are fully alert and aware.

After a shoulder repair, rehabilitation is usually necessary during the healing process. In rehab, the patient works through a series of exercises which are designed to stretch and strengthen the shoulder. These can include supervised exercises with a physical therapist as well as exercises to be done at home. In the weeks immediately following the surgery, the shoulder is usually painful and the patient's movement and activities may be limited. One thing to expect from shoulder repair is a period of debilitation immediately after surgery which may make it challenging to complete daily tasks without assistance.

Before a shoulder repair surgery takes place, the patient should ask the surgeon about the specifics of the procedure, including what will be done in the operating room, how long recovery will take, and if there are any special risks or complications which should be considered. This will give the patient a better idea of what to expect from shoulder repair.

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