Shoulder Repair Treatment Options

There are many conditions that affect the shoulder, requiring medical treatment and possibly surgery. Common shoulder conditions include:

  • Dislocation – The shoulder joint is the most frequently dislocated major joint of the body – often caused by a significant force that separates the shoulder joint’s ball (the top rounded portion of the upper arm bone) away from the joint's socket.
  • Separation – The joint becomes separated when the ligaments attached to the collarbone are torn, or partially torn, away from the shoulder blade. Shoulder separation may be caused by a sudden, forceful blow to the shoulder, or as a result of a fall.
  • Bursitis – Bursitis often occurs when tendonitis and impingement syndrome cause inflammation of the bursa sacs that protect the shoulder.
  • Impingement syndrome – Impingement syndrome is caused by the excessive squeezing or rubbing of the rotator cuff and shoulder blade. The pain associated with the syndrome is a result of an inflamed bursa (lubricating sac) over the rotator cuff, inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons, and calcium deposits in tendons due to wear and tear. Shoulder impingement syndrome can lead to a torn rotator cuff.
  • Tendonitis – Tendonitis of the shoulder is caused when the rotator cuff and biceps tendon become worn out and occasionally inflamed, usually as a result of being pinched by surrounding structures. The injury may vary from mild inflammation to involvement of most of the rotator cuff.
  • Rotator cuff tear – A rotator cuff tear involves one or more rotator cuff tendons becoming inflamed from overuse, aging, a fall on an outstretched hand, or a collision.
  • Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) – Frozen shoulder is a severely restrictive condition frequently caused by injury that, in turn, leads to lack of use due to pain. Intermittent periods of use may cause inflammation and adhesions to grow between the joint surfaces, thus restricting motion. There is also a lack of synovial fluid to lubricate the gap between the arm bone and socket that normally helps the shoulder joint to move. This restricted space between the capsule and ball of the humerus distinguishes adhesive capsulitis from the less complicated condition known as stiff shoulder.
  • Fracture - A fracture is a partial or total crack or break through a bone that usually occurs due to a impact injury.

There are many factors that your doctor will use to determine the specific treatment for your injury, including age, overall health, medical history, and the severity of the condition. Not every injury requires surgery and non-surgical treatments can include modifications to your exercise regimen, rest, physical therapy, and medications. If non-surgical treatments do not work, you may need surgery to repair the shoulder.

What is Shoulder Repair?

After tests have been completed to determine the extent of the shoulder damage, surgery may be needed. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, our orthopaedic surgeons provide the latest advanced treatments and surgical techniques for shoulder repair. Our experts provide:

  • Joint replacement and revision – the removal of an injured or arthritic joint that is replaced with an artificial joint.
  • Arthroscopic surgery – The use of an arthroscope (small camera) to examine and repair the shoulder joint through a small incision.
  • Rotator cuff and labrum repair
  • Joint preservation
  • Shoulder fracture reduction/fixation
  • Treatment for shoulder instability
  • Tendon transfers
  • Treatment for nerve injuries involving the shoulder

Shoulder Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Orthopaedic surgeons in the Orthopaedic & Arthritis Center at BWH provide unique, innovative and comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and management for shoulder injuries and a wide spectrum of other orthopaedic conditions and injuries.

The Advanced Center for Cartilage Repair, Shoulder, and Sports Injury at BWH is a first of its kind center in New England. Our staff is experienced in the most advanced treatments of ligament and cartilage injuries, joint preservation, and total joint replacements to the knee as well as hip and shoulder.

Bone and Joint Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The Orthopaedic & Arthritis Center at BWH is one of the most highly regarded orthopaedic and joint disease research and treatment programs in the world. Comprehensive and innovative bone and joint care is the foundation of the Center, beginning nearly a century ago when one of our founding hospitals, the Robert Breck Brigham Hospital, became the first teaching hospital in the country wholly devoted to arthritis and related diseases.

Today, the Center – a collaboration of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy - is known for its pioneering team of physicians and researchers dedicated to doing everything possible for our patients while helping to develop and apply the most advanced treatments for bone and joint diseases and conditions.

Patient- and Family-focused Care
Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has long been committed to not only the care of our patients, but also the many other needs that they and their families have. This philosophy of patient- and family-focused care – involving systems and services that emphasize healing in a comfortable, relaxed environment – is a guiding force behind the care we provide at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Quality of Patient Care
BWH is committed to providing all of our patients with the safest, highest-quality, most-satisfying care possible and follow established protocols that have been shown to improve patient outcomes. Our Inpatient Satisfaction Survey, sent to patients’ to assess their total care experience, helps us to monitor what we are doing well and areas for improvement. We pride ourselves in the Quality of Patient Care we provide and how we are measured compared with other hospitals.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital Orthopaedic Treatment Team

Year after year, our Orthopaedic Services - working closely with colleagues in Rheumatology - are ranked among the top programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Additional Resources

Contact Us

If you believe you should have an evaluation and would like to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopaedic experts, call 1-800-294-9999 to speak to one of our knowledgeable coordinators who can help to connect you to the doctor that best meets your needs.