Key Points About Surgical Realignment of the Shoulder 

  • Surgical realignment of the shoulder is performed to correct a misaligned shoulder.
  • If you had a severe shoulder dislocation or fracture, you may need an open surgical realignment procedure to correct the injury.
  • During open surgical realignment surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will cut a large incision into the shoulder to repair the damage.
  • Complications associated with open surgical realignment surgery include excessive bleeding, shoulder stiffness, blood clots, or damage to blood vessels or nerves.
  • You will wear a sling after open surgical realignment surgery. It will take between three to six months to recover after the surgery. 

Surgical realignment of the shoulder is an orthopedic surgery used to correct a misaligned shoulder. A shoulder can be misaligned as a result of fracture or dislocation that occurs from an injury, accident, overuse, or poor posture.

The goal of surgical shoulder realignment is to restore your shoulder’s function and range of motion.

Surgical realignment is typically performed via minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery, but in some cases, open surgery is necessary. Arthroscopic surgery is performed using small incisions, which reduces recovery time, less scarring, and shorter hospital stays. 

Who is a Candidate for the Surgical Realignment of the Shoulder?

After suffering a shoulder dislocation or fracture, you could develop other conditions such as rotator cuff tears, shoulder instability, fractured collarbone, or torn tissue in the shoulder.

Your will evaluate your condition to determine if you require surgical realignment from any of these conditions.

Risks Associated with Surgical Realignment of the Shoulder

While complications associated with the surgical realignment of the shoulder performed arthroscopically, they can occur. Generally, the complications are mild and treatable.

Complications may include:

  • Infection.
  • Excessive bleeding.
  • Blood clots.
  • Damage to blood vessels or nerves.
  • Shoulder stiffness.
  • Tear the repaired area.

Your doctor will review your specific risks before your operation.

Preparing for Surgical Realignment of the Shoulder

In preparation for shoulder realignment surgery, your doctor will perform a physical examination to evaluate your overall health. During the exam, your doctor will order blood work and urine to determine if you have any underlying conditions.

When cleared for surgery, you will be given a series of guidelines to prepare for surgery, including:

  • Stop taking medications such as blood thinners or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery.
  • Plan to have someone drive you home after surgery.
  • Prepare your home to accommodate your limited movements during recovery.

What to Expect During Surgical Realignment of the Shoulder

During arthroscopic shoulder realignment surgery, your doctor will take a series of small incisions around the shoulder joint. Using an arthroscope, with a light and camera on it, your doctor will be able to see into the joint to access the damage. 

Depending on what is wrong with your shoulder, your doctor may:

  • Repair a torn rotator cuff.
  • Replace the shoulder joint.
  • Reshape the head of the arm bone.
  • Use a bone graft to make up for the bone loss.
  • Tighten ligaments to hold the arm in place.

If you have a broken bone, you may need open surgery to fix it.

Duration of Surgical Realignment of the Shoulder Recovery

After surgery, you will need to keep your shoulder as still as possible. You will need to wear a sling for six weeks after surgery to immobilize the shoulder and keep the weight off the tendon. To reduce swelling and pain, apply shoulder packs, and take over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen.

You will be advised to participate in a physical therapy (PT) program. During PT, your therapies will introduce you to gentle exercises that do not involve muscle contractions. These exercises will prevent scar tissue from forming in the joint. 

After six weeks, you will be able to perform a limited range of motion arm exercises. Do not lift heavy objects or place strain on the joint. 

Between three to six months after surgery, you can begin strengthening and stretching exercises. Follow your doctor and therapist’s guidelines to avoid putting too much strain on the area too soon. 

Total recovery time will vary depending upon the severity of your injury.

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