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Shoulder osteoarthritis (arthrosis)

Finding the right treatment

Many people suffer from wear and tear on joints throughout the course of their lives. But shoulder surgery is not always necessary to relieve the symptoms. In the early stages of arthrosis, conservative measures can help slow the progress or even prevent it. Initially, our specialists combat the pain with physiotherapy, physical applications such as cryotherapy or muscle strengthening. The combination of pain therapy and physiotherapy can slow the wear on the shoulder and even stop the symptoms enough to avoid the need for shoulder surgery.

Pain therapy provides relief

An injection directly into the shoulder joint or upper joint space can provide relief for acute pain in the shoulder. This way, we can reduce the pain and the inflammation in your shoulder joint. Often, this injection treatment is required before further, conservative treatment can begin. Drug-based pain therapy is also often necessary to reduce the pain of active arthrosis. However, pain medications are not a permanent solution.

Improve and maintain mobility with physiotherapy

Once the acute pain has been relieved, we will start targeted exercises that improve mobility in the shoulder joint and release painful tension. Our physiotherapists will help you stretch shortened muscles, caused by protective or incorrect posture, and strengthen your shoulder muscles. Potentially incorrect posture in the upper sections of the spine can also be corrected in this manner. With improved posture, symptoms can improve.

Conservative treatment methods

  • Pain therapy provides relief
  • Improve and maintain mobility with physiotherapy

Shoulder surgery for early-stage arthrosis

If pain persists or conservative treatments fail, shoulder surgery may be helpful. Particularly in surrounding tissue such as bursa sacs, or when the long bicep tendon or tendon sheaths are affected, we can improve these problems by means of minimally invasive arthroscopic (keyhole) surgeries, and significantly reduce the pain caused by arthrosis. Our experts will review in detail, whether there are viable options for minimally invasive joint preservation treatment.

Joint replacement surgery

If arthrosis has progressed to an advanced stage, a joint replacement may be the best solution for you. With this solution, we can reduce your pain long-term and improve the mobility of your shoulder. Replacement surgery options include conventional total shoulder replacement or reverse total shoulder replacement.

  • Total shoulder replacement/arthroplasty – this requires normal rotator cuff tendons and a good amount of bone remaining in the shoulder. Both the ball and the socket are replaced. A plastic “cup” is fitted into the socket, and a metal “ball” is attached to the top of the arm.
  • Reverse total shoulder replacement – this is used in patients with torn rotator cuff tendons to allow them to use other muscles to raise their arm and use their shoulder. In this type of replacement, the socket and ball are the opposite way around compared to a conventional total shoulder replacement.

The artificial shoulder joint functions for approximately 10 to 15 years. A number of our patients, however, have used their implants for much longer and enjoy significantly improved function long-term.

As with all surgeries, there are some risks and possible complications. Potential problems could include infection, excessive bleeding, blood clots and damage to blood vessels or nerves. Particularly, with shoulder replacement surgery, the artificial joint may wear and loosen over time, which may require further shoulder surgery in the future.

Surgical treatment methods

  • Shoulder surgery for early-stage arthrosis
  • Joint replacement surgery