Why Shoulder Surgery Is So Much More Complicated Than Knee Or Hip Surgery

If you are an athlete, or you are getting older, there are three main joint sets in your body that you worry about. They are your knees, hips, and shoulders. These three main sets of joints are responsible for supporting all of the rest of your body, including your head, neck, torso, and legs. If you have arthritis or injury to any one of these joints, you tend to hobble around in pain until you give way to surgery. 

However, if you had one joint to choose out of all six of these, which do you think would be the most difficult surgery? Most people say it is the hip, but it actually is not. There might even be a few people that say their knee would be the most difficult. In truth, the most difficult of all three joint surgeries is your shoulder, and here is why.

The Arrangement of Bones

If you think about it, your hip joints are ball and sockets. Your surgeon cuts through the flesh on the side of your upper leg, and/or through your gluteus maximus, also known as your butt. There is a lot of flesh and lots of fat, but that does not complicate things at all. The hip joint itself is connected by lots of tendons and bulky muscles, but that is nothing in comparison to the shoulder because the hip joint is two bones that fit together. Simple.

The knee is a little more complicated, because you have a kneecap, or patella bone, over the front of the knee to protect the three leg bones and tendons behind it. Surprisingly, the bones are not really touching. They are attached to each other by tendons and lubricated with synovial fluid.

The shoulder, on the other hand, has the shoulder blade, or scapula, on your back, with a ball and socket joint in the middle. A clavicle comes from the front of your chest and breastbone, twisting slightly as it moves backward and over the ball and socket joint to meet the scapula on top of the ball and socket joint. This is complicated surgery because so many bones have to be moved out of the way to address the joint. 

The Proximity to Your Spine

A surgeon has to be particularly careful if he/she is going to go through your back for shoulder surgery. There are dozens of nerve fibers present, and the shoulder blade has to be forced upward to get underneath to the joint. Given the fact that going through your upper chest or completely opening your shoulder are the only other options, and that clavicle bones break so easily, some doctors prefer to approach this surgery from your back. Nerves and blood vessels here heal a little faster, too.

For more information, contact a company like Omaha Orthopedic Clinic & Sports Medicine PC.

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