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Shoulder Surgery: Everything You Need to Know

A Guide to Shoulder Surgery

At Western Orthopaedics, we care about providing our patients with valuable information. So, we have come up with the answers to the most common questions about shoulder surgery. This information acts as a guide for achieving the best possible outcome.


What is the most common shoulder surgery?

There are 5 common types of shoulder surgery. These are:

  • Shoulder arthroscopy
  • Rotator cuff surgery
  • Torn labrum surgery
  • Shoulder arthritis treatment
  • Fracture repair


Shoulder Arthroscopy

Shoulder arthroscopy requires making an incision into the shoulder. It then involves inserting a camera that allows the doctor to locate and detect the damage. Following this, the orthopedic surgeon makes a small incision. They will then insert a small instrument to repair the area. Shoulder arthroscopic surgery involves less recovery than open surgery.


Rotator Cuff Surgery

The group of muscles and tendons that form a sleeve over the shoulder joint act as the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff assures your arm inside the shoulder joint. It enables the shoulder joint to move and rotate.

Any injury causes damage to the rotator cuff. But, an orthopedic surgeon can solve this problem with shoulder surgery. The type of incision depends on the extent of the damage.


Torn Labrum Surgery

The flat and shallow part of your shoulder blade is called the glenoid. This is where a rubbery tissue known as the labrum is. The labrum forms a cup-like shape across the shoulder. It serves as a socket, enabling your arm to move about while anchored into your shoulder.

An orthopedic surgeon performs surgery to repair a torn labrum.


Shoulder Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis is the inflammation of a joint. It creates pain, discomfort, stiffness, and a limited range of motion. When other types of treatment are ineffective, shoulder surgery is the answer.


Fracture Repair

When a shoulder fracture happens, the broken bones position in a way that will allow them to heal. This happens by immobilising the shoulder in a sling. Yet other times, the fractured bones need repositioning.

Depending on the nature of the fracture, this type of surgery may take place with an open incision.


How long does it take to recover from shoulder surgery?

Shoulder surgery can take a long time to recover. But the good news is that the better one’s health is, the quicker they will recover. It is important to follow post-surgery instructions to ensure the best recovery. Here are a few tips for achieving successful healing after shoulder surgery.


At-home Care

It is best to have someone stay with you for the first night. This will help you to feel more comfortable, cook your meals and help with other factors. Having someone support you will help to avoid shoulder pain. It will ensure that you follow post shoulder surgery guidelines. Sports Health explains the 15 must-haves after shoulder surgery. Be sure to stock up on these items to help make your healing journey as straightforward as possible.



Sleep and rest are vital factors when it comes to healing from shoulder surgery. You could tend to feel more tired than usual, but this is normal after any surgery. Taking care of yourself by getting extra rest will ensure that you are on the road to recovery.


How serious is shoulder surgery?

Following your shoulder surgery, you will remain in the recovery room for 1-2 hours. Then the orthopedic surgeon will discharge you. Nurses will provide you with pain relief and track your responsiveness.

You will need to have another person drive you home. This is because you will be wearing a sling across your arm and feeling the effects of the general anaesthetic. Attempting to drive after shoulder surgery is dangerous.


shoulder surgery

Is shoulder surgery painful?

Shoulder surgery can be painful. Your doctor will prescribe you with medication to manage this pain. It is worth recognising that it is far more beneficial after having shoulder surgery. Having the treatment will slowly but surely reduce the pain that you initially had.



There are different types of medication prescribed for short-term pain relief after surgery. Pain management medication includes:

  • Opioids
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Acetaminophen
  • Local anaesthetics

It is best to try avoiding opioids after surgery. This is because these medications are narcotics and can trigger addictions. If you need to use them, be sure to reduce the intake as your pain begins to lessen.


Need Shoulder Surgery?

Do you need a qualified and caring practitioner in Sydney? Western Orthopaedics can help you. Dr Pavitar Sunner has the tools and training to treat any shoulder injury. He delivers all procedures with careful attention and expertise. Take the shoulder quiz today to find out how we can help you to start living pain-free.

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