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Am I a Candidate for Shoulder Surgery?

More people are considering shoulder surgery to manage shoulder problems thanks to advances in technology and equipment. Surgery is now minimally invasive and can be performed on an outpatient basis with faster recovery and fewer complications. But what are your other options and when is the right time to turn to surgery?  Answer the following questions to see if shoulder surgery is ideal for you:

What is causing your pain?

If the cause of your pain is not determined through history and examination, your doctor may recommend shoulder arthroscopy to view the inside of your joint. Depending on your condition nonsurgical treatment options may be recommended before considering surgery. Sometimes a definite problem is identified that is best treated by surgery. Several shoulder abnormalities can be treated with tiny instruments during arthroscopy without the need for another procedure.

Does your condition affect routine activities?

If persistent pain, decreased shoulder strength or reduced range of motion is making it difficult for you to carry out your daily activities, you may be advised to undergo shoulder surgery.

Do other forms of treatment provide relief?

Shoulder pain can often be treated by conservative or nonsurgical methods. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy or steroid injections into the shoulder joint. If these provide adequate relief, you should avoid surgery. Although surgery may be minimally invasive, it is still associated with certain risks and complications. If you can sufficiently reduce your level of pain with nonsurgical treatment, surgery may not be necessary.

Keeping these points in mind can help you make an informed decision about shoulder surgery. Your doctor can discuss your condition and treatment options in better detail.