Shoulder Surgery - Medical Negligence Lawyers
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Our Shoulder Surgery medical negligence lawyers have solicitors offices situated in Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin.
Shoulder surgery can be done for many ailments of the shoulder. Much of the surgeries done today are done arthroscopically, using a rod called an arthroscope that requires small incisions around the shoulder. An arthroscopic procedure can be used to widen the difference between the shoulder blade and the upper arm so that the rotator cuff tendons have space in which to move. Another arthroscopic surgery involves stabilizing a shoulder that suffers from repeated dislocation. The rotator cuff itself can be treated using arthroscopic surgery. A much bigger surgery is the arthroplasty for the purposes of a total shoulder replacement.
In a shoulder arthroscopy, the procedure is done under general anesthesia. The patient is sitting in a semi-recumbent position in most cases and is on his side in other cases. The area is cleansed and draped. There are different portals created in which tools, a lighted instrument and manipulation tools are placed. In the small, lit space, the tendons, ligament, cartilage and bone are repaired and manipulated. When the surgery is done, the wounds are all closed with staples or sutures. The shoulder is then immobilized using an immobilizer or sling. The surgery is over.
Unfortunately, shoulder surgery has frequent complications; it is an important decision to make when we select the orthopedic surgeon to do the surgery. The complications also vary by procedure and include:
- Complications from an irreparable rotator cuff repair. This usually results in severe to moderate injury to the nerves surrounding the shoulder. In many cases, it will go away in two days or as much as six weeks. About 1 percent of patients will have this complication.
- There can be permanent injury in a rotator cuff repair that results in a diminished function in the extremity. This is an uncommon complication.
- Infection is possible after rotator cuff tear. This happens in 1-2 percent of cases. Antibiotics usually take care of this.
- In a rotator cuff repair, the most common complication is a problem with the suture anchors in the bone. This occurs less than one percent of cases. In some cases, the suture needs to be removed with surgery.
- Infections can happen in a rotator cuff repair that are usually treated by antibiotics and possibly surgery.
- Wound problems include bleeding, poor healing, bad scarring and wound swelling.
- A bone fracture and bone infections are possible.
- Stiffness of the joint or arthritis in the joint can happen.
- There can be a loss of motion in rotator cuff tear repairs.
- Nerve injuries are possible in rotator cuff repair.
- Complications of arthroscopy in arthritis include nerve injury at the area around the shoulder. This often occurs because of pressure and will diminish in two days to six weeks, occurring in 1-2 percent of cases.
- There can be permanent loss of function or feeling in the affected area. This is a rare phenomenon.
- Infection is possible in arthritic surgery using an arthroscope. Oral or IV antibiotics can be given to treat this.
- Complications can happen in surgery to the glenohumeral joint. The most common is that to the nerves near the shoulder. It often goes away within six weeks and occurs in about 1 percent of cases of this surgery.
- There can be permanent damage that results in a loss of use, loss of feeling or numbness to the extremity distal to the shoulder.
- Infection occurs in less than one percent and may require injectable or oral antibiotics, depending on severity of the infection. Sometimes surgical drainage is necessary.
- There can be bone screws that cause irritation. If this occurs, it requires further surgery to replace or remove the screw.
- Joint stiffness and arthritis can occur and can be permanent.
- The operation itself can cause incomplete ability to move the arm, decreased strength around the joint and a lack of complete function of the arm.
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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here