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Shoulder surgery

Throwing a ball, putting away groceries or casting a fishing lure—your shoulder makes it possible. It’s the most mobile joint in your body. Unfortunately, it’s also susceptible to wear and tear, overuse or injury.  

Shoulder pain or limited movement can often be treated successfully with anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy. But when those approaches don’t relieve your symptoms, shoulder surgery may be the right option.

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What it is

Some of the more common shoulder surgeries include: 

  • Arthroscopy: Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery. Your surgeon makes tiny incisions and uses specialized instruments to fix tears or repair damage. 
  • Torn rotator cuff repair: The rotator cuff is made up of muscles and tendons that help to rotate your arm and stabilize your shoulder joint. If the rotator cuff is torn, there are several rotator cuff surgery options depending upon the size, depth and location of the injury.  
  • Impingement surgery: Your shoulder’s acromion bone can rub against the tendon and bursa, causing irritation and pain. Impingement surgery is done to create more space above the rotator cuff tendons and/or to repair damaged tissue.  
  • Shoulder replacement: Shoulder replacement surgery replaces your damaged shoulder joint with artificial joint parts. In a total replacement, both the ball and socket of the joint are replaced. In a partial replacement, only one of two parts is replaced.  
  • Reverse total shoulder replacement: In this technique, the deltoid muscle of your shoulder is used to provide function, rather than the rotator cuff muscle group. This procedure may be an option if you have good deltoid strength and are experiencing severe shoulder arthritis and have non-repairable rotator cuff tears.

Good for treating

  • Rotator cuff tears 
  • Shoulder instability or dislocation 
  • Impingement syndrome 
  • Bursitis 
  • Tendonitis 
  • Frozen shoulder 
  • Acute injury 

What to expect

Once you’ve made the decision to have surgery, your Allina Health Orthopedics care team will ensure you are well-prepared. You’ll receive detailed instructions on how to prepare for the operation, learn what to expect in the hospital or surgery center, and get helpful information on how to plan for recovery at home.

Good to know

  • You will care team will include compassionate and experienced physicians, nurses and therapists who use the most advanced tools and technology.  
  • After your surgery, you can count on dedicated therapists offering a full range of rehabilitation services in a convenient, comfortable location.  
  • Allina Health hospitals and outpatient surgery centers observe the highest standards of quality and best practices.

Related links

Reviewed by: Michael Q. Freehill, MD, orthopedic surgeon

First published: 10/26/2020
Last reviewed: 10/26/2020