Treatment decisions are based upon the cause, the intensity of the symptoms, and the severity of the patient’s disease. Each year, over 50,000 shoulder replacement surgeries are performed in the United States to relieve pain and improve function for shoulders that are severely damaged by glenohumeral arthritis.
Arthritis in the very early stages can be controlled and treated with arthroscopic techniques. During this procedure, Dr. Millett will trim out the inflamed synovial lining tissue and remove pieces or fragments of degenerated cartilage. Arthroscopic treatment for shoulder arthritis will not cure the arthritic condition, but it will prolong more drastic measures and relieve many symptoms for a while.
In more severe shoulder arthritis conditions, Dr. Millett has developed a new joint preservation procedure called the CAM procedure. CAM is an acronym for Comprehensive Arthroscopic Management, which is a very precise combination of surgical procedures aimed at treating all the major pain generators. The CAM procedure can be performed in young, active patients with arthritis who wish to preserve their shoulder joints or in older patients who wish to avoid joint replacement surgery. Although minimally invasive, the CAM procedure is very technically demanding and is not performed widely at other surgical centers. Nevertheless, the clinical results have shown decreased pain, improved function, and good durability, without the need for total joint replacement.
When the arthritis is end-stage or in other instances where the joint can no longer be salvaged, joint replacement surgery may be the best option. Joint replacement, also known as total shoulder replacement or arthroplasty, has been around for many years and Dr. Millett has performed several hundred of these procedures.
Shoulder replacement surgeries are among Dr. Millett’s favorite procedures to perform because the results are very predictable and the pain relief is so complete. Shoulder replacement surgery is highly effective at eliminating pain and restoring function so that patients can return to activities of daily living and sports such as skiing, tennis, and golf. During this procedure, the joint is surgically replaced through an incision in the front of the shoulder, and a metal ball and plastic socket are inserted to recreate the damaged joint. Only one muscle is split during the procedure, allowing for a smoother recovery with less tissue damage. Full recovery with return to unrestricted activities can be expected by 3 to 4 months.
Before a treatment plan can be put into place, Dr. Millett will need to examine your shoulder and review various imaging studies such as X-ray’s and MRI’s to determine the cause of the shoulder arthritis and the stage of advancement. He can then discuss the various treatment options with you and help develop the best course of treatment given your particular circumstances and goals.
For additional resources on shoulder arthritis, please contact the office of Dr. Peter Millett, orthopedic shoulder specialist serving patients in Vail, Aspen and the surrounding Denver, Colorado communities
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