SOS Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Maybe it was years of body building to emulate the Hulk or decades of enjoying a round of doubles tennis with good friends or an unfortunate fall on the ice, but many people find themselves with aching shoulders and limited motion as they age. Dr. Nathan Everding and the Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists (SOS) team of experienced shoulder specialists are available to provide total orthopedic care for patients experiencing chronic or acute shoulder pain.

The team at SOS works with patients to determine the best treatment for their aching shoulders. From arthritis to tendonitis to acute injuries, our providers are experts in various treatments and procedures, both surgical and non-surgical, to alleviate pain and restore function. More frequently, shoulder replacement is becoming an option for a greater number of patients.

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Is Shoulder Replacement Surgery Right for You?

Total shoulders replacements are the fastest growing field of arthroplasty, according to Dr. Everding. “Advancements in shoulder arthroplasty in the last 15 or so years have allowed us to treat more patients because the newer technologies make more patients eligible.”

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Total Shoulder Arthroplasty involves replacement of the entire joint — the ball, or humerus, and the socket, or glenoid — with plastic and metal parts. These components are more resilient and durable than those made even a few years ago; many can last 15 years or more before requiring reconstruction. What’s more, they’re more “anatomic” – meaning that the replacement can replicate true human movement more closely – than ever before. No small feat, considering that the shoulder is the body’s most flexible joint, having more than 1,000 possible positions.

What is Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

“There are many factors to judge a surgery’s success for a patient – pain, motion, and function. There used to be an expectation of poor outcomes for a shoulder replacement and limited options, but that has all changed,” said Everding. “There has been great maturation in shoulder replacement care in the past 20 years or so.”

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Who Can Benefit from Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Although some candidates for shoulder replacement surgery are ones who suffered a fracture, more often it is the general wear and tear of the shoulder that cause arthritis which can lead to great pain and dysfunction. Certain activities can aggravate shoulders. In overhead sports like tennis, microinjuries to the joint can occur during every match, and their effects can build over years. These overuse injuries can eventually wear on the ball and socket of the shoulder joint, causing osteoarthritis to develop. Previous traumatic injury such as a shoulder dislocation can lead to chronic pain and limited motion over the long term.

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Shoulder Replacement Surgery for Body Builders

Dr. Everding commented that he has cared for a number of body builders that developed arthritis at a younger age. During intense gym workouts, the shoulder is often one of the most common areas of injury. The shoulder joint is a ball-in-socket design, shaped like a golf tee, which gives a large range of motion. The socket is flat on top, making the ball of the upper arm bone moveable, but also which means that it can be easily dislocated. When gym workouts that include weightlifting are part of your regular routine, improper technique or excessive weight can cause a great deal of wear and tear to the joint, muscles, and tendons of the shoulder.

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Return Home the Same Day as Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Patients who are candidates for shoulder replacement surgery can expect to be home the same day of the procedure, although some require an overnight stay in a hospital. “This procedure typically has a high success rate,” said Dr. Everding. “Patients can see a 90% – 95% improvement in motion, function, and pain.” Recovery from the procedure involves physical therapy and the use of a sling for six weeks to let soft tissue heal. Approximately three months after shoulder replacement surgery, most patients are allowed to return to unrestricted activity.

SOS Shoulder Replacement Specialists

Dr. Everding completed a fellowship in shoulder surgery with specialty training in total shoulder arthroplasty. Other SOS surgeons who perform total shoulder arthroplasty include, Todd C. Battaglia, MD, P. James Newman, MD, Devon Ryan, MD, L. Ryan Smart, MD, and Daniel C. Wnorowski, MD.

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Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery Patient Journey

Patient with Dr. Nathan Everding after Both Total Shoulders

Prior to meeting Dr. Everding life as I had known it had slowly deteriorated to the point where I could not move my left arm above my shoulder nor could I move it behind my back or straight out in front of me without experiencing severe pain and discomfort. My right shoulder was somewhat better but slowly getting worse and "catching up" with my left one.

While showing me the X-rays Dr. Everding explained completely, in a way that I could easily understand, why I was having the pain and lack of mobility with my shoulders. He also went into great detail in explaining why a complete shoulder replacement was the best alternative to alleviate my pain and give me back my mobility.

I had a complete left shoulder replacement in July of 2015 and a complete right shoulder replacement in March of 2017. It was truly a life changing experience for me! After having both shoulders replaced my pain was gone and I regained the use of both my arms again - I was able to enjoy life again.

I have to say that my experience with Dr. Everding and SOS was one of the best that I have ever had! Dr. Everding is a great doctor. He is very knowledgeable in his field and a very skilled surgeon yet has a great bedside manner in being able to explain everything in such a way that it is easily understood.

Thank you Dr. Everding for giving me back my life as I had known it!

- Robert M.

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Sustaining Strong Shoulders

Working to maintain healthy shoulders has benefits besides just injury prevention. By maintaining a good range of motion, you’ll be able to continue activities you enjoy, for years to come. SOS offers these tips for taking care of your shoulders.

Strengthen Shoulders
Strengthening the muscles around your shoulder will help keep it stable and protect you from injury. But you don’t need elaborate gym equipment to do it. AAOS offers a rotator cuff and shoulder conditioning program, which includes 18 exercises that target a range of different muscle groups crucial for shoulder health. The routine can be used either for recovering from an injury or maintaining shoulder health. 

Be Flexible
Daily stretching can help maintain shoulder flexibility and a good range of motion, both of which provide some protection against injury.

Warm Up
Warm up before engaging in any strenuous activity. Some cardio work, such as jumping jacks, plus some of the shoulder and rotator cuff exercises you do in your fitness workouts.

Master Moderation
Over exercise, especially coupled with poor technique, can increase your injury risk.

Ease your Ergonomics
Sit up straight. Slumping in your chair can result in tight muscles and affect how your shoulders move.
Have your computer table relatively high, so the shoulder is not extended all the time.

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