golfers and shoulder surgery

Most Golfers Return to Sport Six Months Post-Shoulder Surgery

Due to the repetitive movements in golf, it isn’t uncommon for golfers to develop shoulder issues. In severe cases, surgery may be required, and this can be a worry for golfers in terms of recovery and time out from the sport. However, a new data review has revealed that most golfers return to sport within six months after shoulder surgery.

Here, we’ll look at what this new golfers and shoulder surgery study revealed and what you can expect if you are due to undergo surgery for the shoulder.

Golfers and shoulder surgery study

The review, entitled ‘Return to Golf After Shoulder Arthroplasty: A Systematic Review”, assessed the return rates of golfers who undergo shoulder surgery. Published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine, there were ten studies included in the review.

A couple of the studies looked at golf performance after the surgery. Three of the studies also addressed return to golf rates for patients who had undergone total shoulder arthroplasty and shoulder hemiarthroplasty. These studies revealed a return to golf rate of 89% to 100% within 5-8 months. An additional two studies also showed 77% and 100% return to golf rates within 5.8 months.

After assessing all of the studies, it was determined that total shoulder arthroplasty resulted in a good return to sport outcomes.  Just one study focused solely on patients who had shoulder hemiarthroplasty and their return rate to golf was 54% within 6.5 months.

Reverse shoulder arthroscopy sees drop in results

Although a total shoulder arthroplasty did show high return to sport rates, a reverse shoulder arthroscopy produces slightly less favourable results. After 5.3 and 6 months, return rates were 50% and 79%. So, this type of surgery does appear to lengthen recovery time for patients.

A reverse shoulder arthroscopy is carried out where a total arthroscopy isn’t ideal. This includes patients who have suffered large rotator cuff tears with the development of complex arthritis. The reason it can take longer for patients to recover from this type of procedure is that it reverses the metal ball and socket. This causes different muscles to be used.

Helping patients understand their options

Recommendations for treatments weren’t able to be provided in the study due to varying patient baseline characteristics and surgical procedures carried out. However, it does allow patients to understand how surgery could impact their chances of returning to the sport.

Generally speaking, a total shoulder arthroscopy does produce high return to golf rates. However, like any surgery, there are risks involved that patients need to be aware of. Golfers need to understand the risks before making a decision, particularly if there is a chance they may not be able to return to the sport. The earlier treatment is provided, the more chance there is the patient will be able to return to golf.

This new golfers and shoulder surgery research does provide hope to patients that they do stand a good chance of returning to sport after their operation. With the right aftercare, golfers could be back to the sport within six months.

To book an appointment with the London Shoulder Specialists, call +44 (0) 203 195 2442.