What Is Soft Tissue Shoulder Reconstruction?

Soft tissue injuries occur when overuse or trauma occurs to the muscles, tendons or ligaments.

As the shoulder joint is a unique make-up of the ball and socket being different sizes, the stability of the shoulder comes from soft tissue structures like the labrum and surrounding muscles, such as the shoulder rotator cuff and deltoid.

What Are the Symptoms of Soft Tissue Injuries?

Any injury to the shoulder will show symptoms such as pain, delayed or immediate swelling, heat, redness or bruising and stiffness or loss of function in the effected arm.

With severe trauma, fractures can also occur, and it is recommended that you go to the hospital straight away for evaluation.

It is best to head to the hospital if you are unable to put any weight on the affected area, there is an unusual deformity, a pop or cracking sound was heard at time of injury or if there is any presence of numbness at the injury site or anywhere else around it.

Treatment

Surgery may have to be an option depending on the severity of the problem the patient is experiencing. Certain types of injuries such frequent, recurring dislocations and some rotator cuff tears may have this option recommended.

The surgery is often done through arthroscopy to remove any scar tissue and repair torn tissue, but if the problem is larger in scale a traditional open procedure may need to happen for larger scale reconstructions or a replacement. A total shoulder replacement can only occur if the muscles of the rotator cuff are intact for this to be successful. It is also vital that these muscles are not damaged during the surgery.

Recovery

If the surgical option was discussed and agreed upon with your doctor and surgeon, a period of up to five days will be spent in the hospital post operation.

Nerves will be assessed to make sure that everything is still working well, which is normally a positive result, and physiotherapy will begin as soon as possible.

Patients will be unable to move externally rotate their shoulder for up to 6 weeks to allow for the area and tendons to properly heal. Once the initial recovery process is complete, physiotherapy will continue to improve the strength and rage of motion in the shoulder. Full recovery from the surgery could be anywhere between 4-6 months depending on the size of the tear and the extent of the surgery that was performed.