The shoulder is a complex joint, prone to both repetitive stress, and degenerative and traumatic injury. Competing, corporate practices often rush into surgery—and many patients soon re-injure themselves. At OrthoPooler, we offer attentive pre-operative care and the most advanced, minimally-invasive arthroscopic shoulder repair so that we get it right the first time.
Shoulder Pain Getting Worse?
We use our shoulders throughout the day—at work, on the go, at the gym. Many of us are side-sleepers and some of those will eventually complain of shoulder pain. Age is inevitable. Injury is often the price of living a full and active life. But no matter the source of your shoulder pain, a good diagnosis makes all the difference.
Shoulder pain often gets worse with time, not better. That is because a shoulder is a difficult thing to rest. Often, as we continue to use (and tweak) the joint, other structures become involved and it can become difficult to isolate the source of the pain. Indeed, what begins as a minor tear can soon cause tendinitis, bursitis, and can participate in back and/or neck pain.
In diagnosing acute shoulder pain, your doctor will almost always order an MRI as a matter of course. At OrthoPooler we prefer to try conservative therapy before we talk about surgery. Unless you have a full tear or other emergent condition, a pre-operative evaluation with a physical therapist can often produce immediate relief of shoulder pain.
Arthroscopic Shoulder Repair in Pooler and Savannah
If surgery becomes necessary, Dr. Mark Winchell performs minimally-invasive arthroscopic shoulder surgery, repairing rotator cuffs and torn labrums on an outpatient basis. While the joint itself is complex, surgery is fairly straight-forward. A series of quarter-inch incisions enables the procedure with minimal scarring and reduced complications.
Surgery can often be avoided in the event of a partial tear (< 50%). If your pain is caused by a partial tear of either the rotator cuff or labrum, we recommend physical therapy to reduce shoulder pain and increase range of motion and stability. Indeed, surgery for partial ligament tears can be more risky and often results in stiffness in the joint, surgical failures and/or subsequent injury.
Our goal, on the other hand, is to restore both range of motion and comfort. We do this in collaboration with trusted physical therapists so that when surgery does become necessary, our patients experience much less post-operative pain and significantly reduced time in rehab.
Recovery from Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery
Most arthroscopic procedures at OrthoPooler are performed on an outpatient basis. After a couple of hours in the OR, you will be sent home under anesthesia to recover. Thereafter, we take a personalized approach in order to ensure the success of your repair.
At OrthoPooler, we follow our patients closely during the postoperative period, for while the range of motion tends to return quickly, in those first weeks there is still a need to protect the repair. A first follow-up appointment, typically within ten days, will enable us to evaluate swelling, your stitches, and get you into a sling.
It would be nice to be able to say—you can expect to be in a sling for six weeks—but everyone’s situation is different. Generally, you can expect physical therapy/rehab after 2 or 3 weeks post-op, but sometimes there are good reasons to slow a patient’s recovery down. Others are able recover more quickly, but you never want to rush a shoulder injury.
As a competitive runner and cyclist, Dr. Mark Winchell’s goal is always to get our patients back in the game, living pain-free, and performing at the level to which they are accustomed. We work with young athletes, with middle-aged men and women who work and play as if they were kids, and with older patients who hope to remain active throughout their golden years.