Shoulder Arthritis Surgery

There are several diverse surgery options available to patients with shoulder arthritis. Each of these options is designed to alleviate pain and improve shoulder function.

1. Shoulder Arthroscopy: This minimally invasive procedure involves small incisions through which a camera and surgical tools are inserted. Damaged cartilage and bone spurs are removed, providing relief from pain and stiffness.

2. Shoulder Replacement: In cases of advanced arthritis, the damaged shoulder joint is replaced with a prosthetic made of metal and plastic. This surgery can restore function and alleviate pain.

3. Reverse Shoulder Replacement: This procedure is typically performed on patients with a completely torn rotator cuff. The ball and socket parts of the shoulder joint are switched, allowing the patient to use the deltoid muscle instead of the rotator cuff to lift the arm.

Expected Surgery Outcome

The expected outcome of shoulder surgery is a significant reduction in pain and improved shoulder function. Patients often regain a full range of motion and can return to their regular activities, albeit with some adaptations.

Potential surgery complications and risks

Like any surgery, shoulder surgeries come with potential complications including infection, blood clots, and reactions to anaesthesia. Specific to shoulder surgeries, there’s also the risk of damage to nerves and blood vessels, stiffness or instability of the joint, and loosening or wear of the replacement parts.


  • Infection: Although rare, infections can occur after surgery and may require additional surgery to treat.
  • Blood Clots: These can form in the arm veins after shoulder surgery, potentially leading to serious complications.
  • Nerve Injury: Nerves near the surgical site can be damaged during surgery, causing weakness and numbness.

Recovery After Surgery

After surgery, patients typically begin physiotherapy within a few weeks to regain strength and range of motion. Full recovery can take anywhere from a few months to a year, depending on the severity of the arthritis and the type of surgery performed. Patients are also prescribed pain management medication to help cope with post-surgical discomfort.