What are alternatives to Shoulder Surgery?
Most shoulder injuries are treated initially without
surgery. Your doctor can help guide you in selecting
the right treatment for you and your particular
problem. Your doctor will often suggest some
combination of non-surgical treatments including:
- Pills, especially non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory dugs (NSAIDs), pain pills,
muscle relaxants, etc.
- Physical therapy
- Injections directly into the shoulder
- Activity modification (avoidance of
activities that cause symptoms)
- Additional tests such as x-rays and/or an
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan
Non-surgical treatments are advantageous because you
avoid the risk of infection and reactions to
anesthesia. They also can result in the resolution
of symptoms within a few weeks to a few months of
beginning treatment. For example, non-surgical
management of rotator cuff tears can provide relief
in approximately 50 percent of patients. In general,
if your shoulder problems last more than six months,
you should be evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon to
discuss additional treatments including surgery.
How do you prepare for Shoulder Surgery?
Prior to any surgery, your doctor will give you a
complete medical examination and evaluate your
overall health and your health history. You may be
required to get additional tests such as X-rays and
lab tests. Your doctor will also review with you the
potential risks and benefits of the operation and
will ask you to sign a consent form. It is important
that you ask questions and be sure you understand
the reason for the surgery as well as the risks.
It is important that you inform your doctor if you
have allergies to any medications, what medications
you are taking, and if you have bleeding problems.
It is also important to inform your doctor if you
Your doctor will also give you specific instructions
on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines
on eating and drinking, smoking, taking or avoiding
certain vitamins and medications. Carefully
following these instructions will help your surgery
go more smoothly.
Depending on the circumstances of your surgery, you
may be instructed to do the following:
- Completely empty your colon and cleanse your
intestines prior to surgery. You may be
requested to drink clear liquids only for one or
several days prior to surgery.
- Stop eating or drinking after midnight the
night before the operation except medications
that your doctor has told you are permissible to
take with a sip of water the morning of surgery.
- Plan for your care and recovery after the
operation. Find someone to drive you home after
the surgery. Allow for time to rest and try to
find people to help you with your day-to-day
- Stop smoking at least six to eight weeks
prior to surgery as smoking delays wound
healing. Smokers are also more likely to have
breathing problems during surgery.