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Ways Shoulder Surgery Impacts Your Work Life

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The joints in your body play an important role in allowing you to do day-to-day activities and participate in numerous physical activities. Shoulder injuries can occur from overuse, accidents, or regular wear and tear and may require the help of shoulder surgery doctors in Atlanta. If your doctor has recommended shoulder surgery, you’re probably wondering what recovery will look like and how your employment might be affected. Here’s what you need to know.

When Surgery Is Required

Surgery for shoulder injuries isn’t always required. The shoulder is made up of the upper arm bone, collarbone, and shoulder blade. Ligaments connect all these bones to create the joint and a group of muscles form the rotator cuff to allow your shoulder to move smoothly. The joint also has cartilage, fluid, and a bursa sac to help cushion the joint. Surgery may be required when the shoulder is dislocated, the rotator cuff is torn, or when the cartilage wears down and prevents the shoulder from working properly. The impact surgery has on your work life depends on the type of surgery you undergo and what type of work you do.

Rotator Cuff Surgery

When more conservative treatments for treating a torn rotator cuff are ineffective, the doctor may recommend shoulder rotator cuff tear surgery. The orthopedic surgeon may be able to repair the tendon using an arthroscope, or a larger incision may be necessary. Following rotator cuff repair you’ll likely be in a sling for four to six weeks. You’ll need to avoid lifting or pushing heavy objects for up to twelve weeks to avoid placing strain on the sutures that are anchoring the newly-attached tendon to the bone. Physical therapy is an important part of recovery, and when done as directed you could fully recovered in three-to-six months. While this recovery may impact your ability to work for a short while, the results of the surgery allow people to do work more effectively after recovery is complete because pain is eliminated and range of motion is restored.


Arthroscopy procedures may be done for repairs other than rotator cuff repairs as well. The surgeon uses small incisions and a camera to guide the surgical tools in making repairs. This procedure may be used to repair shoulder dislocations or address soft tissue repairs like tendonitis. It can also relieve frozen shoulder and repair torn cartilage and ligaments. Following this type of surgery, you’ll typically be in a sling to restrict movement for two-to-four weeks. You’ll usually be able to use free weights and elastic bands at around eight weeks.


Shoulder arthroplasty is the replacement of the shoulder joint. This procedure requires more recovery time than other shoulder surgeries because it involves removal and replacement of the head of the humerus bone and the socket that comprises the joint. Initial recovery is similar to the other procedures, with a sling being worn for a few weeks and physical therapy being required for the first few months. It will take about six months before you can return to vigorous activities that rely heavily on major shoulder movements, like swimming or golfing.

Work Implications

Many people are concerned about the time it takes to fully recover from shoulder surgery because of the impact on employment. While it’s true you may not be able to return to duties for a few weeks or months, it’s important to remember surgery for shoulder orthopedics in Atlanta will vastly improve shoulder movement and function. To learn if surgery is the right option for you, contact Piedmont Orthopedics |OrthoAtlanta today.

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