Gary W. Gartsman M.D.
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Texas Orthopedic
Hospital

7401 South Main Street
Houston, TX 77030
Phone: (713) 799-2300
info@drgartsman.com

Texas Orthopedic Hospital

Fondren Othopedic Group

Gary W Gartsman MD
Shoulder Pain
Arthroscopic Shoulder Pain

Possible Complications From Surgery

Shoulder surgery is a complex and delicate process designed to repair damaged structures deep within the human body. Complications can occur, but fortunately, they are rare.

Dr. Gartsman lists these types of complications that could possibly occur to inform you, not frighten you. While it would be preferable if we could perform surgery without any risk, this is not the case. The complications are rare (less than 1%) but regrettably, in spite of our best efforts, they do occur.

Complications vary by procedure:

Complications – Irreparable rotator cuff repair/acromioplasty

  • The most common complication involves injury to nerves around the shoulder. These usually go away in two days to six weeks (this occurs in less than 1% of patients).
  • Permanent injury that results in diminished use, function or feeling in the extremity can occur but is exceedingly rare.
  • Infection can occur, 1-2%, and may require antibiotics by pills or by injection. Rarely, surgery is necessary.

Complications - Rotator cuff

  • The most common complication involves the bone screws (suture anchors), which occurs in less than 1% of patients. Dr. Gartsman uses these small metal implants to reattach the torn tendons. There is always a possibility they would have to be removed surgically if they loosen or cause irritation.
  • Infection can require antibiotic treatment with pills or by injection. Rarely, surgery
    is necessary.
  • Wound problems including swelling, bleeding, delayed healing, unsightly or
    painful scars.
  • Bone infection or fracture could occur.
  • Joint problems including stiffness or arthritis could occur.
  • Failure to achieve the desired result is not strictly a complication but it can be a source of disappointment.
  • This operation may result in incomplete motion, strength or function.
  • Nerve injury is extremely rare but may result in temporary or permanent, partial or complete loss of feeling and/or movement in the arm.

Complications – Contracture/scope arthritis

  • The most common complication involves injury to nerves around the shoulder. Usually these occur due to pressure. These usually go away in two days to six weeks. This occurs in 1-2% of patients.
  • Permanent injury that results in diminished use, function or feeling in the extremity can occur but is exceedingly rare.
  • Infection can occur, 1-2%, and may require oral antibiotics, antibiotics by injection and rarely surgery.

Complications - Labrum repair/glenohumeral

  • The most common complication involves injury to nerves around the shoulder. These usually go away in two days to six weeks. This occurs in less than 1%
    of patients.
  • Permanent injury that results in diminished use, function or feeling in the extremity can occur but is exceedingly rare.
  • Infection can occur, less than 1%, and may require antibiotic treatment with pills or by injection. Rarely, surgery is necessary.
  • It is extremely rare for the bone screws to cause problems, but the possibility does exist and further surgery may be required.
  • Joint problems including stiffness or arthritis could occur.
  • Failure to achieve the desired result is not strictly a complication but it can be a source of disappointment.
  • This operation may result in incomplete motion, strength or function.

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