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Shouldering the Load: What to Expect from Shoulder Procedures at Southeastern Med

There are a wide range of shoulder problems that could require a treatment beyond just rest, ice, injections or physical therapy. In some cases, surgery may be the best or only option for regaining a full range of motion in the joint and/or reducing chronic pain. Fortunately, the Orthopedic team at Southeastern Med offers many of today’s most advanced shoulder procedures right here in the comfort of your community. Our team specializes in procedures that offer outpatient care allowing you to recover at home.

Two experienced orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Vanessa Voytko and Dr. Bill Kumler, head up our department. Together, they’ve helped lift the proverbial load off the shoulders of hundreds of patients; from star athletes with cartilage tears to great-grandparents with severe arthritis. In simple terms, there are several main types of procedures available, including minimally invasive joint repair (aka, arthroscopy or a “shoulder scope”), minimally invasive joint replacement (arthroplasty), and open surgical repair. Each of these methods can be used to address many types of shoulder issues, as you can see below:

Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery

This type of shoulder repair involves inserting a very small camera through a 5mm incision in the skin, which then enables the surgeon to inspect the shoulder joint and precisely re-attach damaged tendons or ligaments. The minimal invasiveness also results in faster recovery times. Our surgeons will often elect to use a Shoulder Scope procedure to fix common injuries such as:

  • Torn Rotator Cuff
  • Impingement
  • Bursitis
  • Cartilage Tear
  • Torn Labrum
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Bone Spurs

Shoulder Arthroplasty

Southeastern Med offers both full shoulder joint replacement surgery and partial replacement (aka hemiarthroplasty). Dr. Voytko routinely offers these as outpatient procedures, meaning you won’t need to stay at the hospital overnight. Generally, a shoulder replacement becomes necessary as a result of severe damage to the joint caused by degenerative osteoarthritis. To resolve the issue, the ball and socket of the shoulder can be replaced with new ones made from metal and plastic.

Open Surgery

In some cases where a total shoulder replacement is needed, an open surgery approach—in which a larger incision is made for greater access to the joint—might be chosen by the surgical team. This type of procedure is also sometimes preferred for the “Bankart Repair” of traumatic anterior shoulder instability; i.e., when a patient has a dangerously unstable, repeatedly dislocating shoulder. While recovery times might be a bit longer after an open procedure, this can vary significantly from patient to patient.

As always, the first step in addressing your own shoulder condition is to speak with your physician about the nature of your pain/injury and what non-surgical solutions might be worth trying. Once those have been exhausted, Southeastern Med has a range of helpful tests available to better assess the problem and determine the proper treatment.

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