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If you struggle with shoulder pain, stiffness or swelling due to arthritis or another shoulder joint disorder, it severely compromises your ability to complete even the simplest everyday tasks.

That’s why Spectrum Orthopaedics offers a team of board-certified orthopedists who specialize in both surgical and non-surgical shoulder treatments, to get you back to doing what you love. Our shoulder surgeons and physicians provide a level of experience that no other orthopedic practice in Maine can match – and it’s reflected in our patients’ excellent outcomes. And with offices in Brunswick, Norway, Portland, and Windham, our shoulder specialists provide care that’s near you.

The shoulder conditions we treat

The shoulder services Spectrum Orthopaedics provides

You can count on our team for highly-specialized diagnostic resources and treatments, including:

  • Advanced imaging including MRI and arthrography (a special x-ray to examine the interior of a joint)
  • Non-surgical treatments including pain management (anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections) and physical and occupational therapy
  • Minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery, usually performed in an ambulatory setting
  • Design and fabrication of custom splints or braces to protect and/or rehabilitate an injured area
  • Total joint replacement for degenerative or arthritic problems

What is shoulder arthroscopy?

Shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery that orthopedic surgeons use to diagnose and treat shoulder problems. During shoulder arthroscopy, your surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into your shoulder joint. The camera displays pictures on a video monitor, and your surgeon uses these images to guide surgical instruments. Shoulder arthroscopy may be used for rotator cuff repair, surgery for impingement syndrome, or surgery for shoulder instability.

When do you need a shoulder joint replacement?

Before we recommend shoulder joint replacement surgery, we typically suggest non-surgical measures to alleviate your pain and stiffness, and preserve your natural joint. These conservative treatments may include:

  • Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen
  • Avoiding or modifying activities that cause pain
  • Physical therapy and low-impact exercise
  • Weight loss to take pressure off damaged joints
  • Bracing to provide support
  • Corticosteroid injections

If these conservative measures don’t provide sufficient relief, joint replacement may be the best solution for eliminating your pain and restoring mobility. But this decision is made only after a thorough health evaluation and discussion between you and our orthopedic specialists.

Types of shoulder joint replacement

Spectrum’s orthopedic surgeons perform a wide variety of today’s most advanced joint replacement procedures, including:

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint in which the head of your upper arm bone (humerus) fits into a shallow socket in your shoulder blade. In total shoulder replacement, the damaged parts of the shoulder joint are removed and replaced with a highly polished metal ball attached to a stem, and a plastic socket. Depending on the extent of your joint disease, you surgeon may replace just the head of your humerus bone (ball) or both the ball and the socket.

Reverse total shoulder replacement

For people with large rotator cuff tears who develop a type of shoulder arthritis called “cuff tear arthropathy,” traditional total shoulder replacement isn’t effective. Instead, a procedure called reverse total shoulder replacement is used. In this procedure, the prosthetic socket and ball are reversed, with a metal ball attached to the shoulder bone and a plastic socket attached to the upper arm bone. This enables the patient to use the deltoid muscle instead of the torn rotator cuff to lift the arm. Reverse shoulder replacement is also an option for patients who have had a previous traditional shoulder replacement that failed.

Know what to expect from shoulder joint replacement surgery

Studies show that informed patients have better outcomes. There are a number of ways to being informed about your shoulder joint replacement procedure. Our hospital partners offer free joint classes and connect you with a nurse navigator to make sure you have all the information you need for your hospital procedure. If you are scheduled to have your joint replacement as an overnight patient in the hospital you will be provided the pre-surgical class schedule.

An innovative approach to pain management

Rather than rely solely on narcotic medications for pain management after joint replacement, Spectrum takes an innovative multi-modal approach. This means administering two or more drugs that act by different mechanisms to provide pain relief—such as regional nerve blocks and non-narcotic medications.

Research shows that this approach improves pain relief while reducing opioid requirements and their related adverse effects—including the risk of addiction.

Importantly, it enables our patients to be up and moving—without significant pain—within hours of surgery, putting them on a fast path to recovery.

Physical rehabilitation: The key to your recovery

Shoulder joint replacement surgery is only the first step in regaining your range of motion, strength, flexibility, endurance, and ability to perform everyday activities. An individualized physical therapy program is essential for your optimal recovery.

You’ll begin your physical rehabilitation before your planned procedure and then within hours of waking up from surgery, starting with gentle exercises to help you bear weight and move your new joint. Your Spectrum Orthopaedics team will refer you to meet with your therapist before surgery and then you will schedule appointments to be ready for rehabilitation right after discharge.

Shoulder Physicians Portland

Shoulder Physicians Windham

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