Shoulder Pain: Surgical Solutions

While shoulder replacement surgery is far less common than knee or hip replacement, the number of shoulder replacement procedures performed in the U.S. has increased with the improvement of techniques and results.  As the population continues to age and individuals stay active longer, the need for shoulder replacement surgery continues to rise. If nonsurgical treatments like medications and activity changes are no longer helpful for relieving pain, you may want to consider shoulder replacement surgery.

Many factors can cause the need for shoulder replacement surgery, with osteoarthritis being the number one reason. Those with past shoulder injuries, multiple dislocations, and other forms of arthritis are also at higher risk for needing a total shoulder replacement.

Fortunately, there are two successful procedure options for shoulder replacement: total shoulder arthroplasty and reverse total shoulder arthroplasty. Traditional total shoulder arthroplasty is the most common procedure, which is performed on patients with functioning rotator cuff muscles.  Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty is performed on patients with joint disease and a torn rotator cuff.  By reversing the original anatomy of the shoulder, the replacement can do the job of both the joint and the rotator cuff muscles.

Shoulder replacement surgery usually only involves an overnight hospital stay.  Patients begin rehabilitation therapy immediately after surgery and are usually able to return to normal activities within two to three months.

In the past, individuals with torn rotator cuffs had very few treatment options and often had to live with the debilitating condition. Shoulder replacement has offered a successful treatment option for these individuals and has helped restore their quality of life. Fortunately, our community is home to Cone Health’s Orthopedic Center of Excellence, where orthopedic surgeons have been performing this surgery since 2006 with extremely gratifying results.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Kevin Supple is an orthopaedic surgeon in the triad and a member of the Cone Health Medical Staff.  Dr. Supple earned his M.D. at University of Southern California School of Medicine. He served his general surgery internship and his orthopaedic surgery residency at the Jackson Memorial Medical Center of the University of Miami.  Dr. Supple’s specialization is arthroscopic, and reconstructive surgery of the shoulder and knee, and total shoulder and reverse shoulder replacements. He is the first physician in Guilford County to receive the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery Subspecialty Certificate in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine.