Failed Shoulder
Surgery

Failed Shoulder Surgery
Table of Contents

Shoulder surgery is a complex procedure that’s affected by a variety of variables that pose certain risks. Although failed surgeries can be frustrating and debilitating, it’s important to seek evaluation by a skilled shoulder specialist before considering further treatment. At the Arizona Center for Hand Surgery, first-rate orthopedic surgeon Dr. Paul Hovis believes that treating failed shoulder surgery begins with an accurate diagnosis. Practicing in Phoenix, the Northwest Valley, and Mesa, Arizona, Dr. Hovis recommends an individualized treatment plan to correct failed shoulder surgery. Contact the Arizona Center for Hand Surgery to schedule an in-person or remote consultation with the go-to shoulder specialist for patients around the world today.

What causes failed shoulder surgery?

Because fracture repairs, rotator cuff repairs, and shoulder joint and reverse total shoulder joint replacements are relatively common, a significant number of patients have experienced shoulder surgery failures. Shoulder surgery can fail as a result of stiffness, weakness, instability, pain, or failure to heal, as well as from complications like infection or nerve injury.

Just as surgeon skill and experience can have a significant impact on the outcome of any type of shoulder surgery, patient-related factors can affect outcome, too. Age, smoking history, and the quality of the tissue being repaired can all play a part in an operation’s success or failure. Likewise, patients who don’t follow post-surgery protocol intended to allow healing of the repaired tissue can also experience a failed outcome.

What is the next step in recovery?

If you’ve been through a failed shoulder surgery, it’s important to put your frustration and desperation for a quick fix aside before you consider further treatment or surgery. Instead, you should consult a surgeon skilled and experienced in the evaluation and management of these conditions.

Because shoulder anatomy and function are equally complex, failed surgery is sometimes the result of an incorrect diagnosis or inappropriate treatment. And even when the problem may seem to be pain, it’s important to identify the likely mechanical causes of the failure so Dr. Hovis can repair it.

What are some treatment options?

Because the causes of failed shoulder surgery are so wide-ranging, it’s impossible to discuss all the potential treatment paths that may address the issue. Common failures and treatments include:

  • Shoulder surgery that causes stiffness or limited range of motion may be helped by stretching exercises; a second surgery to release adhesions may also be helpful.
  • A rotator cuff repair that results in weakness or catching and popping during shoulder movement may benefit from a re-repair, also known as shoulder revision surgery.
  • Dislocation surgery that results in persistent instability or limited range of motion may be best treated by a revision repair or the surgical removal of adhesions.
  • A total shoulder replacement or a reverse total shoulder replacement that becomes stiff or unstable may require revision surgery to rebalance the tissues or to secure the prosthesis.
  • Surgery for a fracture that results in stiffness or non-healing of the bone may be helped by the removal of scar tissue and re-fixation of the fracture.


You don’t have to live with the consequences of failed shoulder surgery. Contact the Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery to schedule an in-person or remote consultation with Dr. Hovis today.

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