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Standard Shoulder Replacement How to find the most skillful surgeon

907Nancy

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First day on forum. Trying to figure out how to determine the most highly skilled, experienced shoulder surgeon for the job. Any recommendations on what questions to ask, how to get statistics? Important questions to ask? Is the number and frequency of performing the TSR an indicator of skill? Thanks, all.
 

djklaugh

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@907Nancy Welcome to BoneSmart :welome: Finding a really good surgeon can be complicated. I would suggest several things - First - check with your health insurance to see if a) you need a referral from your primary care provider for surgery; b) do they have a preferred provider list that you must use to select a surgeon.

Second - try using the surgeon locator here on our site - while it does not give much info about the surgeons, the people listed have been recommended by other members.

Do you know what kind of surgery you need - repair of a tear or a total replacement or ??? If the surgeon locator does not help then you can try putting "shoulder surgery" Plus your zip code into Google and see what you come up with. Also ask your primary care doctor for recommendations; ask any friends you have who have had shoulder surgery; ask on local social network sites such as Nextdoor and Facebook.

YES experience is a key necessity for a really good surgeon - so you want someone who primarily does shoulder surgeries. For most surgeons who are not under an HMO insurance plan you can usually find information about them through Google or other search engine. When you find a surgeon or two (or more) in your area you can call the office and ask to speak to the surgeon's assistant or his nurse. Those folks will have more information about how many shoulder surgeries the doctor does and which hospital he works at (also check out the hospital - most have their safety/rate of infections posted on their websites). When calling surgeon's office keep in mind that the first person you speak to is most likely a receptionist who is there to direct calls and make appointments and may not have information about the details of surgeon's practice.

Which area of the country are you in? One of our other folks may know of a shoulder surgeon in your area. I'm in Oregon and both my shoulder surgeons where through Kaiser Permanente - so while I would highly recommend them both - they only see Kaiser members who are in the Oregon/Southern Washington area.

Best of luck to you and please keep us informed on your progress -- and ask any othe questions you have!
 

Pumpkln

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907Nancy,
I agree, surgeon experience is most important, interveiw several surgeons if possible to find someone who is a good match for you.

You'll notice that I have moved your newest thread to Shoulder Pre Op, where you will receive more responses to your questions and concerns.
So please post any updates, questions or concerns here. If you prefer a different thread title, just post what you want and we'll get it changed for you.
If you need an urgent response to a question, just tag a member of staff.

Many members bookmark their thread in their computer browser, so they can find it when they log on.
How can I find my threads and posts?
 

Jaycey

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You have already received some very good advice. I'll just add - make sure your surgeon specialises in shoulder surgery. An orthopaedic surgeon who does knees and hips is not going to have the expertise you need.

Do keep us updated!
 
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907Nancy

907Nancy

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Thank you all for responding to question and placing it on most useful thread. I live in Anchorage, Alaska. I don’t require a FP referral and if practice accepts Medicare and BCBS, I am able use surgeon of choice. All of above great suggestion. Thank you!
 

Tiger224

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I am scheduled for Reverse Shoulder Surgery on March 3. I am on my 3rd surgeon. The first two well-experienced refused to do my left shoulder which is very bad. The final surgeon is about 35 years old, not as much experience. However, he had one year of additional training and studying at Cleveland Clinic under the supervision of the country's 2 top surgeons for Reverse Shoulder.

You do a CT scan, which then the software will find the exact fit for your new shoulder parts. There is a guide made so the surgeon knows where to drill the holes. The guide is just for this person, from a medical manufacturer. From an engineering point of view, this gives the optimal opportunity to have the best way for success. As a retired engineer, I would not think of doing this type of operation any other way.

The other two only used X-ray and MRI scans, The second surgeon referred me to this surgeon and both never suggested a CT scan to place the parts. My surgeon said my shoulder was the worst shoulder he has seen. I feel more confident having him do it. If you need the ball and rotator cup
replaced, don't do it without a guide from the results of a CT scan.
 

SaraK

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The same argument could be made for knees and hips, but that's also where experience comes in. Many surgeon's have great success without doing CT scan (which is also one more expense for the patient).
 

Tiger224

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If you ever modified or upgraded equipment, it is better to have the best layout where the holes for the parts go. I want the optimal design. If you have a better tool use it. The Reverse Shoulder Replacement is much more complex than the hip and knees. You are talking millimeters. Being educated in this technique is more reliable and can solve more complex problems which I have. Experience means you have done it many times over and over, does not mean you can do it better. Also, this can be done faster. if you know where to drill and prevent other medical issues. My first two surgeons were afraid of doing this surgery because they didn't use this procedure,

Having a greater degree of success is what important. I praying the extra time finally getting this done will give me no pain and I can move my shoulder like new. Right now, I use an upright walker, my hands and feet are tingling and burning. My life sucks and can't drive a car.
 

Celle

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If you ever modified or upgraded equipment, it is better to have the best layout where the holes for the parts go. I want the optimal design. If you have a better tool use it. The Reverse Shoulder Replacement is much more complex than the hip and knees. You are talking millimeters. Being educated in this technique is more reliable and can solve more complex problems which I have. Experience means you have done it many times over and over, does not mean you can do it better.
A better type of equipment can help a good, experienced surgeon. It can't turn a mediocre or unskilled surgeon into a good surgeon.

In spite of the advertising, there is actually very little difference between the various types of replacement hardware.

The most important factor for success is the skill of your surgeon.

You need a surgeon who specializes in shoulder replacements, not one who mostly does knees and hips, or who deals mostly with sports injuries.
 

Tiger224

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The skill is in the surgeon, having the best tools makes it more exact in the placement. Having a guide eliminates guessing If you have an unskilled person then you risk having all kinds of problems.

I will find out this Wednesday, March 3. I am staying positive with my Left Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery. A good positive attitude is better than 90% of the problem.
 

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