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Shoulder Surgery Offers Hope for Older Patients Suffering from Chronic Pain

Neema Pourtaheri, M.D.

This study clearly demonstrates that age shouldn’t be a consideration when it comes to making the choice to improve a person’s overall quality of life …

A new medical study by Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit reveals good news for older shoulder replacement patients; post-operative recovery just might be even better than they imagined. Researchers analyzed data and shoulder function scores from two groups of patients presenting with osteoarthritis following surgery: 262 patients under 65 and 103 patients over 75. The conclusion presented earlier this month to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is that patients older than 75 actually had the best results in shoulder function scores following surgery.

“The number of people undergoing shoulder replacement surgery continues to rise,” explains SRO surgeon Dr. Neema Pourtaheri. “With the improvements in surgical technique related to shoulder surgery it’s a much more viable solution for many people who have persistent chronic pain due to arthritis or other issues. And this study clearly demonstrates that age shouldn’t be a consideration when it comes to making the choice to improve a person’s overall quality of life.”

Researchers were surprised to discover that younger patients may have had better function and range of motion before surgery, but it was the older patients that saw the biggest improvement after surgery. Younger patients also had a higher complication rate. “It’s very likely that the dramatic improvements of this study for older patients has something to do with the fact that this group had more severe shoulder pain and less range of motion prior to surgery,” Dr. Pourtaheri says. “Following surgery it’s typical for most patients to experience better function, much less pain, improved range of motion and increased strength. In contrast, older patients who have suffered longer with painful joints and limited range of motion would naturally notice the greatest improvements.”

Pain that leads to shoulder surgery

There are a number of issues that can lead to should pain including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic injury stemming from an accident or fall, to name just a few. While in some cases pain can be treated at home with a combination of rest, ice and over-the-counter medication, more severe shoulder injuries and persistent conditions are best treated by an orthopedist who can provide proper diagnosis and treatment. Common conditions best treated by a specialist include; arthritis, shoulder bone spurs, torn rotator cuffs, fractures, dislocation, damaged cartilage and throwing injuries.

“An important part of maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle is having…

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