Arthroscopic Shoulder SurgeryLeigh Ann Curl, MD, head Orthopaedic surgeon for the Baltimore Ravens and team physician for the Baltimore Orioles, performing shoulder surgery at MedStar Harbor Hospital. 

MedStar Harbor Hospital has a team of orthopaedic specialists dedicated to helping you regain the functionality of your shoulder and perform a full range of motion. We use a variety of treatment methods, including both surgical and nonsurgical options. If you are experiencing shoulder pain that lasts longer than a few weeks or is severe, contact MedStar Harbor Hospital for a referral to an orthopaedic specialist.

Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair

A variety of conditions and injuries can damage the rotator cuff, cause pain, and make it difficult for you to move your arm. When non-surgical treatment does not improve your symptoms, surgery can help.

Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair is a minimally invasive technique, which uses an arthroscope, or thin, flexible tube equipped with a small camera. Your surgeon inserts the arthroscope through a small incision in your shoulder. The camera magnifies your injury onto a screen and allows your surgeon to visualize the damage in detail. The surgeon can then repair your tissue and restore the torn cuff to its correct position at the top of your arm bone very precisely without affecting any surrounding tissue.

Coracoid Transfer for Shoulder Instability

If you suffer from chronic shoulder instability, you may be a good candidate for coracoid transfer surgery. In this open surgery technique, also known as the Latarjet procedure, your MedStar Health surgeon transfers a piece of bone from the front of your shoulder blade to the front of your shoulder socket. This helps hold the ball in the socket of the shoulder joint and provides extra protection against continual dislocation of the joint. The procedure is particularly helpful for patients who have had shoulder stabilization procedures previously or who are missing bones in the front of the shoulder socket.

Open Bankart Repair

Used to treat conditions such as shoulder dislocations or instability, open Bankart repair helps lock the ball back into the socket of the shoulder joint. In this procedure, your orthopaedic surgeon will repair damaged ligaments and cartilage through an incision in the front of your shoulder.

You may be a good candidate for this surgery if you suffer from severe shoulder instability and have not found relief from medication, physical therapy, or other nonsurgical techniques. MedStar Harbor Hospital physicians also often use this method to help patients who have previously had unsuccessful shoulder surgery.

Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Arthritis can make it difficult and painful to perform even the simplest daily tasks. If nonsurgical treatment options are not improving your condition, you may be a good candidate for total shoulder replacement. Total shoulder replacement is a surgical procedure that replaces your arthritic shoulder joint with artificial parts—specifically, a metal ball and plastic socket. The procedure is very effective at relieving pain and improving function.

Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

Often, you can experience shoulder arthritis along with damage to the rotator cuff, which is the group of muscles that hold your shoulder in place and allow you to move your arm in different directions. If you suffer from both conditions at the same time, a total shoulder replacement procedure may not provide sufficient relief.

Another alternative is reverse total shoulder replacement. In this open surgery, an orthopaedic surgeon replaces worn away cartilage and changes the position of the ball and socket joint so you can use a different set of healthy muscles to move your arm instead of your damaged rotator cuff muscles.

Preventing Shoulder Injuries

Before hitting the greens, tennis court, or swimming pools, consider these tips to help prevent shoulder injuries:

  • Practice proper technique. Learn and practice the proper techniques for sports that are hard on the shoulders. For example, swimmers can help save their shoulders by placing their fingers or pinkies in the water first, not their thumbs, during the freestyle stroke.
  • Ease into exercise. Warm up with light activity such as jogging in place or jumping rope for several minutes. Then stretch your shoulders and the other muscles you'll be using. Try this shoulder stretch: Lace your fingers together, and then push your arms over your head with your palms facing up. Hold 15 seconds. Repeat five to 10 times. Be certain to also stretch after you've finished exercising.
  • Strengthen the shoulder area. Building the muscles in your wrists, arms, neck, and back helps protect your shoulders.
    • When the muscles surrounding the shoulder are strong, there's less stress on the shoulder itself. Strengthening the shoulder muscles themselves also helps prevent injuries. To build your shoulder muscles, grasp an unopened soup can in each hand. Point your thumbs to the ground and keep your elbows straight. Raise your arms to waist level and slowly lower them, as if you were flapping your arms. Repeat five to 15 times. Do two or three sets.

Most importantly: Do not ignore symptoms or play through a shoulder injury. Doing so can aggravate the condition and cause more problems. See a doctor if symptoms persist or if your pain is severe.

Learn about MedStar NRH MedStar Harbor Hospital Sports Medicine, a comprehensive sports therapy program.