Frequently Asked Questions
What is acromioplasty? How will it help my shoulder?
I had a rotator cuff repair a year ago. The doctor used four metal anchors to hold the torn tendon in place. I am planning to fly overseas next month. Will the metal anchors set off the security system?
I have a partial rotator cuff tear. My doctor is ordering a type of surgery called acromioplasty (ASD) to "decompress" the tendons in the shoulder area. Will this take away the pain in my shoulder? And can I expect the results to last?
I am going to have surgery on my shoulder. The doctor has offered me the choice between two different types of anesthesia: general and regional. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these?
during the first four hours after the operation, there is usually less pain with the regional anesthetic. this also means fewer pain medications.
please see the anaesthetic section under patient info for more details.
Why does my shoulder joint pop, crack and click?
I recently fell on the point of my shoulder and have been told I sprained my AC Joint. What is the best treatment and when is surgery indicated?
occasionally an injection my speed recovery if the injury is slow to settle.
most ac joint injuries settle within 6 months, but a small proportion continue to give pain. this is usually because the small meniscus in the joint has been torn and not healed. at this stage surgery is an option - in the form of an arthroscopic ac joint excision.
also see the latest research on ac joint here
Where can I find information on Anatomy of the Shoulder?
When is a Shoulder Replacement indicated for Arthritis of the Shoulder?
a shoulder replacement is considered if you have the following:
1. severe pain which wakes you at night.
2. pain which prevents you doing your daily activities.
3. pain not controlled by pain-killers.
there are few contra-indications, if you have the above criteria. with modern techniques and implants, such as the copeland surface replacement, age is no longer a limiting factor.
for more information see patient information
What are 'Suture Anchors'?
so the anchor inserts to the bone and the suture attaches to the tendon - thus fixing the tendon to the bone via the suture-anchor device
for more information click here
What is Winging of the Scapula and what causes it?
Winging of the scapula is a surprisingly common physical sign, but because it is often asymptomatic it receives little attention. However, symptoms of pain, weakness, or cosmetic deformity may demand attention.
Winging may be caused by injury or dysfunction of the muscles themselves or the nerves that supply the muscles.
19 year old female football goalkeeper fractured mid-shaft clavicle 9 days ago abroad with a 'London Bridge' deformity. Is surgical fixation
the best option for longterm position and function?
in an athlete i might go for fixation if i think there is a risk of delayed or non-union, as they would lose less time off their sport. it all depends on the time of season and the factors above.
the player would really need to see an orthopaedic surgeon with experience in managing clavicle fractures in athletes - the sooner the better.
I have been told that if I am going to require a shoulder stabilisation that I will not gain full range of movement to my shoulder afterwards. This news has concerned me as I am a dance teacher and need full mobility. Is this the case?
I have a shoulder replacement and want to know if airport metal detectors will detect my shoulder replacement?
Whether a metal detector will detect your implant depends on the sensitivity settings on the detector. It is likely that a detector will pick up a steel or cobalt chrome implant.
Therefore it is advisable you get a letter or card from your surgeon confirming that you have a joint replacement.
One of our helpful readers has also wisely suggested the following:
1. Carry a letter from your doctor and/or consultant that you do indeed have a prosthesis, and where it is located
2. Be ready to *show* officials 'where' the scar is - so wear loose clothing
3. IF possible carry a small radiograph of the implanated prosthesis so that you can show this as well as the letter
4. Do be *prepared* for possible delays
5. Give yourself *Time* for these delays, especially if changing flights. Flight connections can be, and often are, hell, especially in Nth America. Allow for officious officialdom!
6. Remember, airport staff are only doing their job - be polite and patient!
I have dislocated my shoulder for the first time. Should I have a surgical repair?
if there is no fracture, then most shoulder dislocations will not require surgery. however, young, male athletes tend to be at a higher risk of further dilsocations and will usually be offered a surgical repair.
for more information see:
first time dilsocators
surgical versus non-surgical treatment for acute anterior shoulder dislocation - cochrane review
What is the incidence of nerve damage in shoulder surgery?
large complex open procedures, such as revision shoulder replacements or complex fracture or tumour surgery are more likely to have a risk of significant nerve damage, but again this is not common.
I have had a shoulder replacement. Should I be taking antbiotic precautions before undergoing dental work?
Can one have an MRI scan where there is a prothesis in place, i.e. an MRI scan of cervical discs, neck refers, when there is a replacement shoulder? Or, an MRI scan of the hips when there is a hip replacement?
Loose metalwork and pacemakers are prone to move under the strong magnetic field of an MR scanner, but implants and prostheses that are fixed to bone will not.