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Shoulder Surgeon

A shoulder surgeon is an orthopedic specialist who cares for people with shoulder injuries or conditions. These are common in athletes, active people and skilled workers whose jobs require repetitive motions.

The shoulder is a complex system of bones, cartilage and other soft tissues. For this reason, there are different types of shoulder surgeons and doctors for different types of injuries and conditions:

Shoulder injury specialist and patient.

  • A shoulder replacement surgeon specializes in joint replacement and reconstruction. These surgeries are done mainly for people with osteoarthritis of the shoulder.
  • A sports medicine doctor focuses on musculoskeletal injuries and conditions. Some of the most common related to the shoulder include rotator cuff tears, fractures and dislocated shoulders.
  • An orthopedic trauma surgeon generally treats bone fractures and other acute injuries. These are typically the result of high-impact incidents such work-related accidents, car collisions, falls or intense sports.

Common Shoulder Injuries and Conditions

The shoulder joint is composed of three bones:

  • the clavicle (collarbone)
  • the scapula (shoulder blade)
  • the top of the humerus (upper arm bone), known as the humeral head

These bones are connected by a complex system of cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscles and other tissues. Injuries and conditions can affect any one or a combination of these components. Some of the more common include:

  • rotator cuff injuries and tears
  • osteoarthritis
  • dislocated shoulder (glenohumeral joint dislocation)
  • shoulder separation (AC joint injury)
  • labral tear of the shoulder (glenoid labrum tear)
  • shoulder impingement (bursitis and tendonitis)

An injury to the shoulder can cause pain, aches or arm weakness and limit range of motion.

Shoulder Injury and Condition Symptoms

Symptoms of shoulder injury and conditions may include:

  • shoulder pain during activity or while at rest
  • weakness or instability
  • stiffness or reduction in range of motion
  • numbness or tingling

When to See a Shoulder Surgeon

Make an appointment if:

  • you have persistent or intermittent shoulder pain
  • performing a specific type of activity (such as lifting or throwing) causes recurring shoulder pain
  • you’ve experienced a loss in range of motion in your shoulder
  • shoulder pain wakes you from sleep
  • shoulder pain is accompanied by swelling, redness or tenderness around the joint

Do I Need Shoulder Surgery?

Not all shoulder injuries require surgery. Many can be treated with non-operative treatments such as:

  • physical therapy
  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications) such as ibuprofen
  • corticosteroid injections or other injection therapies

If you have shoulder pain, you should see a specialist to get the correct diagnosis and treatment. If your shoulder pain has no obvious cause, you may first opt to see a sports medicine doctor or physiatrist. These specialized physicians can determine whether nonsurgical treatments such as changes in your activities or physical therapy may help. Or they may instead suggest consulting a surgeon. Whether you first consult a doctor or a surgeon, they may order imaging of your shoulder to help make an accurate diagnosis. X-rays, MRIs and other imaging technologies are available onsite.

If your pain arose as a result of an acute injury during an activity like weightlifting or playing tennis, baseball or other throwing sports, or if you are concerned you may have fractured your shoulder, you should meet with an orthopedic surgeon. If your surgeon determines that you don’t need surgery, they will give you a medical treatment plan to help get you back on your feet. Or they may refer you to a nonsurgical musculoskeletal doctor or physical therapist.

When surgery is required, most shoulder procedures are performed as outpatient surgery at our ambulatory surgery center, HSS Palm Beach ASC.

About HSS Florida Shoulder Physicians and Surgeons

The orthopedic shoulder specialists at HSS Florida in West Palm Beach work directly with each patient to personalize the best treatment plan for your injury and lifestyle. We have a full team of orthopedic experts specializing in the shoulder, including physicians, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and sports performance specialists. We use this world-renowned musculoskeletal expertise to help reduce your pain, improve function and mobility and restore your quality of life.

If you are currently experiencing shoulder pain, or if your primary care doctor has recommended you consult a specialist, find the best shoulder surgeon or physician at HSS Florida for your particular condition.