Shoulder and Elbow Surgery for Arthritis – The Pros and Cons
Arthritis can cause server pain in the joints and surrounding tissues and can impair movement significantly. You can ease these symptoms present in the shoulder and elbow with shoulder and elbow surgery. You should definitely learn more about this option, how it works and how effective it is in order to decide whether it is right for you or not.
Shoulder and elbow surgery for arthritis is not very popular mainly because this medical condition does not affect these particular joints severely. However, it has been performed for quite some know and thanks to research and technology advancement, is has evolved and improved throughout the years. Still, since the procedure is complex and invasive while the positive results are not fully guaranteed, it is not performed in all hospitals.
In its essence, shoulder and elbow surgery involves the replacement of the joint or joints affected by arthritis with artificial ones. This replacement may be partial or full, depending on the how many elements of the joint are affected. Partial replacement surgery is possible because both the elbow and shoulder joints are complex and have a number of elements comprising them.
What are the benefits of this type of surgery for arthritis sufferers? The main benefit is pain relief. You will no longer experience pain in the each joint and the surround area, after you recover fully from your surgical wounds. You should expect the effect to be permanent, if the surgery has been done successfully. Since you will no longer feel pain, you may even find your range of movement to be somewhat greater.
The potential drawbacks of shoulder and elbow surgery are serious and should be taken into account as well. As a patient, you should know that an artificial joint can never work as a natural one no matter how good it is. This means that the range of your movements will be more limited than before you had arthritis. Still, if joint pain has been disabling for you, you may find that the range of arm movements you have is actually broader. In general, you should be able to do simple daily tasks after the surgery, but you may not be able to play basketball or baseball as you used to, for instance.
You may have to undergo revision surgery which involves the replacement with the artificial joint with a new one. This is certainly a disadvantage for many people. This revision surgery is necessary because even the artificial devices wear and tear over time. Usually, an artificial joint is designed to last for at least 10 years. You may never have to have it replaced or you may have to have it replaced after 5 years, for example. In any cases, you should be aware of this possibility. Revision surgery is similar to the primary shoulder and elbow surgery. The recovery period and cost are similar.
Now you know all the benefits and drawbacks of shoulder and elbow surgery for arthritis. You can readily decide on this option. Just keep in mind that it is usually recommended only to patients who experience pain that cannot be relieved with other treatments and that is disabling.