Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Should I have my shoulders replaced?"

ZocdocAnswersShould I have my shoulders replaced?


I have had surgery on both shoulders for dislocating. both are now frozen, and the arthritus pain keeps me from sleeping at night. surgery was done on 1965 & 1966. I do believe that replacement shoulder joints is what I need. I am 68 years old, and previous surgerys are both shoulders, two r. knee rebuilds and ligament repairs, 4 way heart by pass, gall bladder removed, and most recent 6 way spinal surgery in lower back. (12-01-2011)


You have had quite a complicated orthopedic history, with dislocations of both shoulders as well as prior surgeries performed on both surgeries quite a while ago. Therefore, you case almost certainly requires some input from an excellent orthopedic surgeon, so I would recommend that you start by making an appointment to discuss these issues. Generally speaking, shoulder arthritis is not initially treated with joint replacement. Usually, making sure that ant inflammatory medications are properly optimized is the first step, and this may be followed up with physical therapy or other exercises. There are also other surgical options short of joint replacement. These would include arthroscopic procedures in which small incisions are made and tools inserted into the joint space to help remove rough cartilage and scar tissue. Depending on the details of your prior shoulder surgeries, and what previous treatments for your shoulder arthritis you have tried, your orthopedic doctor should be able to give you the best advice about what options are reasonable and safe for you. You will also likely need to see your primary care doctor, given your long list of other medical problems, prior to any surgery just to make sure that proceeding with a surgery would be safe.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.