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Home » Anatomy » Surgical Procedures for Shoulder Joint Disorders: What You Need to Know

Surgical Procedures for Shoulder Joint Disorders: What You Need to Know

Shoulder joint disorders can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, overuse, and arthritis. These disorders can cause pain, stiffness, and loss of function in the shoulder. Some cases are not treated by conservative treatment , so in those cases surgery may be necessary to relieve pain and improve function. Surgery can be used in case of emergency as well.

There are a number of different surgical procedures that can be performed on the shoulder. The type of procedure that is recommended will depend on the specific disorder that is present. Some of the most common surgical procedures for shoulder disorders include:

Here’s an overview of surgical procedures for different shoulder joint disorders:

Surgery for Rotator Cuff Tears:

Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair:

This minimally invasive procedure involves the use of an arthroscope and small instruments to repair the torn rotator cuff tendons. The surgeon will reattach the tendon to the bone using sutures or anchors.

Shoulder Instability surgery :

Arthroscopic Bankart Repair:

Surgeons perform this surgery to treat recurrent shoulder dislocations or instability. The surgeon uses arthroscopic techniques to repair the torn labrum (a ring of cartilage that helps stabilize the shoulder joint) and reattach it to the shoulder socket.

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome:

Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression:

This surgery aims to alleviate pain and inflammation caused by shoulder impingement. The surgeon removes or trims the inflamed bursa (fluid-filled sac) and any bone spurs that may be impinging on the rotator cuff tendons.

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis):

Manipulation Under Anesthesia (MUA):

In cases where conservative treatments fail, MUA may be performed. It involves the manipulation of the shoulder joint while the patient is under anesthesia to break up adhesions and improve range of motion.

Arthroscopic Capsular Release:

In this procedure, the surgeon uses an arthroscope to release the tight and thickened joint capsule associated with frozen shoulder. This helps improve shoulder movements.


Total Shoulder Replacement (Arthroplasty):

Surgeons recommend this surgery for severe shoulder arthritis. Surgeons replace the damaged parts of the shoulder joint with artificial components, which may include a metal ball attached to a stem, a plastic socket, and a plastic liner.


This procedure involves replacing only the humeral head (the ball part of the shoulder joint) with a prosthetic component. People commonly perform it in cases where the glenoid (shoulder socket) is still healthy.

Labral Tears:

Arthroscopic Labral Repair:

Surgeons can use arthroscopy techniques to repair labral tears in the shoulder. The surgeon reattaches the torn labrum to the shoulder socket using sutures or anchors.


These are some of the common surgical procedures for different shoulder joint disorders. However, it’s important to note that the specific surgical approach may vary depending on the severity of the condition, patient factors, and the surgeon’s preference. Precautions should be keep in mind after these procedures.  Each procedure carries its own risks and benefits, and it’s crucial to consult with a qualified orthopedic surgeon to determine the most appropriate course of treatment for an individual case.

Frequently asked questions about shoulder surgery

Do surgeons treat all shoulder joint disorders with surgery?

No, not all shoulder joint disorders require surgery. Non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy, medication, rest, and lifestyle modifications can effectively manage many shoulder conditions. Doctors usually recommend surgery for severe cases of shoulder pain or when conservative treatments have failed to provide relief.

How long is the recovery period after shoulder surgery?

The recovery period can vary depending on the type and complexity of the surgery performed. In general, it may take several weeks to months for a patient to regain full shoulder function. The surgeon will provide specific post-operative instructions, including restrictions on activities and a rehabilitation program, to promote healing and recovery.

Will there be scars after shoulder surgery?

Surgeons today perform most shoulder surgeries using minimally invasive techniques, such as arthroscopy, which involve small incisions. As a result, the scars are typically small and less noticeable compared to traditional open surgeries. However, the size and visibility of the scar can vary depending on the specific procedure and individual healing factors.

What are the potential risks and complications of shoulder surgery?

Like any surgical procedure, shoulder surgery carries some risks. Possible complications may include infection, blood clots, nerve damage, stiffness, persistent pain, and failure of the surgical repair. It’s important to discuss the potential risks and complications with the surgeon beforehand to make an informed decision.

Will I need physical therapy after shoulder surgery?

Physical therapy is an integral part of the recovery process after shoulder surgery. It helps restore shoulder mobility, strength, and function. A physical therapist will guide you through exercises and stretches to gradually regain range of motion and build up strength. The duration and intensity of the physical therapy program will depend on the specific procedure and individual needs.

How successful are shoulder surgeries in relieving pain and restoring function?

Surgeons have shown that shoulder surgeries can relieve pain and improve shoulder function for many patients. The success rate of shoulder surgery varies depending on the specific condition being treated, the surgical technique used, and individual factors. It’s essential to have realistic expectations and closely follow the post-operative rehabilitation plan for the best outcomes.

Are there any alternatives to surgery for shoulder joint disorders?

Yes, there are non-surgical alternatives for managing certain shoulder joint disorders. These may include physical therapy, medications (such as anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers), corticosteroid injections, activity modification, and rest. Your orthopedic surgeon will evaluate your condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment approach based on your specific needs.

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