shoulder stiffness scan

MRI Can Predict Shoulder Stiffness After Rotator Cuff Tear

A new study has shown that an MRI could predict shoulder stiffness in patients with rotator cuff tears. There were two important findings discovered through the study, which is the first of its kind to identify joint capsule abnormality as a factor within shoulder stiffness after a rotator cuff tear.

Here, we’ll look at the study in more detail and why its findings are important for patients.

Understanding the study

The study, carried out in Korea, assessed 106 patients who had small to large full-thickness rotator cuff tears. They also had axillary recess thickness, alongside joint capsule oedema. The researchers looked at the degree of retraction, obliteration of the subcoracoid fat triangle and the fatty degeneration of the torn muscle.

An operative report and MRI findings determined the tear location and size. They also looked at the links between the MRI findings and preoperative passive range of motion. It was discovered that fatty degeneration was a predictor of a limited range of movement in terms of internal rotation. It was also discovered that males with posterosuperior rotator cuff tears were a predictor of shoulder range of movement on external rotation.

The most significant finding, however, was that there appeared to be a negative linear correlation between a limited range of movement in forward elevation and the joint capsule thickness in the glenoid area. There was also a correlation between the joint capsule oedema in the humeral area and external rotation.

Shoulder stiffness linked to reduced risk of re-tear

Interestingly, another study has shown that patients who experience shoulder stiffness after rotator cuff surgery, experience a reduced risk of a re-tear. However, this only applied to patients who experienced stiffness at six and twelve weeks after the operation.

Compared to those who experienced no stiffness at all, patients experienced a reduced re-tear rate. They were also found to have better outcomes after six months. It also showed that those who went into the surgery with already stiff shoulders were more likely to experience stiffness after the procedure too.

Why the new research is important for patients?

The newest study in Korea is important as it highlights the potential benefits of using MRI to detect and treat patients with rotator cuff tears. Shoulder stiffness is said to affect up to 40% of patients who experience a rotator cuff tear.

Now, surgeons and shoulder specialists know that the recess of the armpit and joint capsule swelling can be used as an indicator for frozen shoulder. If they can identify the risks of a frozen shoulder, they will be better able to treat the patient.

Losing motion in the shoulder after surgery can significantly impact quality of life. Therefore, having early access to the right treatments to improve the range of motion is important. MRI scanning is a simple and effective way to help identify the risks and generate a treatment plan early.

If you have further questions for the London Shoulder Specialists, call 0203 195 2442.

shoulder arthritis in younger patients

Don’t Shrug Off Shoulder Pain: Treating Shoulder Arthritis in Younger Patients

Shoulder arthritis is most commonly associated with old age. However, did you know it can also present in younger patients too? UK star Paddy McGuinness has revealed his struggle with arthritis since he was diagnosed aged 45. He has recently undergone surgery to correct his right shoulder after suffering from arthritis symptoms for years.

While it’s common for patients, particularly younger ones, to hold off seeking treatment for shoulder pain, it is crucial early treatment is sought. Here, we’ll look at shoulder arthritis in younger patients and the treatment options available.

Understanding shoulder arthritis in younger patients

Treating older patients with shoulder arthritis has typically been a lot easier for surgeons than treating younger patients with the condition. This is because they know a shoulder arthroplasty will work well in older patients. However, for younger patients, they aren’t typically known to be good candidates for the procedure. That is, until additional research was carried out into arthroplasty for younger patients.

Could joint replacement surgery be key?

A new study has shown that joint replacement surgery can help to relieve pain and improve mobility in the shoulder in patients 50 and younger. The study followed 23 patients, all younger than 50, who underwent arthroplasties between 1986 and 2005. They also looked at 10 patients who simply underwent a humeral head replacement. All reported chronic shoulder pain caused by arthritis.

The results of the study showed that after joint replacement surgery, the patients had significantly lower pain, alongside improved motion. Both partial and full replacement of the joint showed great success in younger patients. This shows surgeons the benefits of the surgery in patients who would previously have been considered as unsuitable for the procedure.

A full joint replacement or humeral head replacement?

While the full joint replacement has shown great results in reduced pain and improved motion, in younger patients there are some concerns over its longevity. The implants used don’t always withstand a lot of wear and tear. This means, younger patients who want to return to an active lifestyle may find it causes issues with full joint replacement. They are known to loosen over time and cause reduced function in younger patients.

The alternative is to undergo humeral head replacement. This too showed great results in the small study. It would result in a better range of motion and reduced pain, without risking the glenoid from loosening with activity.

What other treatment options are available?

Surgery is the only real treatment option available for shoulder arthritis in younger patients. It is known to worsen over time, meaning treatment should be sought quickly.

That being said, if the arthritis isn’t too severe, it could be treated with physical therapy initially. Some exercises can improve the range of motion. Relief may also be felt through certain anti-inflammatory medications.

Overall, this new research proves promising in the treatment of shoulder arthritis in younger patients. As it is a chronic condition, treatment should be sought as early as possible to prevent it from worsening and causing more significant pain and loss of motion.

If you’re concerned you are suffering from shoulder arthritis, call  0203 195 2442 to arrange a consultation at the London Shoulder Specialists.

shoulder impingement

Is My Shoulder Pain a Sign of Shoulder Impingement?

Sometimes referred to as swimmers’ shoulder, shoulder impingement is a common and painful condition. The trouble is, it can easily be overlooked, particularly in athletes and those who like to hit the gym frequently. Shoulder pain is often considered a normal part of exercise and training. So, how do you know whether or not you’re actually suffering from shoulder impingement?

Here, you’ll discover more about shoulder impingement and the symptoms it presents. We will also reveal the treatment options available and whether it can be prevented.

What is shoulder impingement?

Shoulder impingement is typically caused by the bursa or tendons rubbing against the blade of the shoulder. It tends to occur due to overuse and worsens over time if left untreated. As the bursa or tendons continuously rub against the shoulder blade, it caused inflammation and pain. It also leads the bursa or tendons to become trapped or compressed when the arm is lifted overhead.

Understanding the symptoms of shoulder impingement

Like all shoulder injuries, the main symptom you’ll feel with shoulder impingement is pain. Specifically, you’ll find it difficult to raise your arm past your shoulder. You’ll also experience pain when reaching your arm behind your back.

Alongside pain, other shoulder impingement symptoms include:

  • Stiffness and throbbing
  • Aching
  • Loss of strength
  • Difficulty using the shoulder

It isn’t uncommon to experience stiffness and throbbing. Patients have often referred to the pain experienced as more of a toothache type pain. Even when resting the arm, you may also find it aches a lot, and there may be a loss of strength in the shoulder.

As the condition worsens over time, you’ll start to have difficulty using the shoulder and the strength in the arm will decrease further.

Is shoulder impingement preventable?

While it isn’t always possible to prevent shoulder impingement, there are some measures you can take to reduce your chances of developing it.

Building up the strength in your shoulders is a good idea, particularly if you’ll be using them frequently in a competitive sport environment. You’ll also want to make sure you warm up correctly before exercising.

Ensuring you’re using the correct techniques for the sport you’re competing in will also help. Then finally, giving the shoulders adequate rest between exercise is crucial.

How is shoulder impingement treated?

If you suspect you are suffering from shoulder impingement, it’s important to seek a diagnosis as quickly as possible. The earlier it is spotted, the easier it will be to treat. To start, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy may be recommended for mild cases.

Ultrasound-guided injections may also be used and combined with physiotherapy before surgery is considered. If non-invasive treatments don’t work, surgery may be recommended. Here, the surgeon will widen the area around the rotator cuff to prevent any friction. If a rotator cuff tear is identified, surgery may also be required to repair that too.

There are many different potential causes of shoulder pain, but if you experience pain using overhead movements, it could point to shoulder impingement. Book a consultation today to get to the cause of your shoulder pain and identify the best treatment method to resolve it.

swimmers shoulder

Swimmers Shoulder Common in More than 75% of Swimmers

New research has revealed that over 75% of swimmers suffer from swimmers’ shoulder. It is believed that heavy training is the leading cause of injury, followed closely by a ‘no pain no gain’ philosophy.

Here, we’ll look at the most recent research and its findings, alongside what swimmers’ shoulder is and how it can be prevented.

What is swimmers shoulder?

Swimmers shoulder is a term given to numerous shoulder injuries sustained during swimming. They are typically experienced due to overuse of the joint and cause varying level of pain.

When you swim, the shoulder joint is placed under a lot of strain. It is put through a lot of different motions, each of which can cause a different type of overuse injury. While the shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the body, it isn’t the most stable. This means injuries due to overuse are common.

What did the research reveal?

The recent research into swimmers’ shoulder published within the American Academy of Paediatrics, revealed that the distance swam by competitive swimmers played a key role in shoulder injury.

The team assessed youth club and high school swimmers at a competitive level. They discovered many of the children were suffering with shoulder pain, linked to how far they swam each day. They also discovered that the children believed pain was a natural part of swimming competitively.

It was also revealed that swimmers’ clubs had more children who suffered from shoulder pain compared to high school teams. This seems to link to the fact that swimming clubs cover more distance and more frequent training sessions.

A total of 150 children were assessed in the study. It discovered that 76.7% had experienced shoulder pain over the past year. A staggering 66% of them also revealed that they felt they should tolerate milder shoulder pain if they want to succeed. Half of those questioned also said they knew a competitor who relied upon pain medication.

Those who reported pain tended to swim 2,001 to 6,322 yards per training session. Those who experienced no pain swam a total of 1,568 to 3,513 yards per session.

Is swimmers shoulder preventable?

The research shows two things that could help prevent swimmers’ shoulder. The first is the attitude towards shoulder pain. Young athletes need to understand the seriousness of shoulder pain and the conditions it can link to. Once pain is experienced, adequate rest of the shoulder should be provided.

Another way that swimmers can reduce their risk is to avoid overtraining. Carrying out strengthening exercises will ensure the muscles of the shoulder are better equipped to handle the strain they are placed under. Keeping an eye on the distance they cover in each session will also help.

However, it isn’t always possible to prevent swimmers’ shoulder. If an injury does occur, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. This will prevent extensive time away from the pool and also stop the injury from worsening.

Gender and rotator cuff repair

Gender Differences Revealed in Rotator Cuff Repair Recovery

There are numerous treatments available to treat issues with the shoulder. One of the most common procedures carried out on patients is rotator cuff repair. Now, research has revealed that gender can play a role in the outcome of the surgery.

Here, we’ll look at what the new research has revealed and other factors that can impact the success rate of the procedure.

What is rotator cuff repair?

Rotator cuff repair is a surgical procedure which aims to repair torn tendons within the shoulder. There are two main methods that can be used, including open incisions and shoulder arthroscopy. The latter tends to be the preferred method, particularly for mild to moderate tears.

The procedure is typically carried out under general anaesthetic and the method will depend upon the severity of the injury. In a typical procedure, the tendons are re-attached to the bone using small anchors, which have sutures running through them. These then repair the tendon to the bone.

It can be a fairly intensive surgical procedure with a long recovery time; post-surgery recovery depends mainly on the severity of the tear being mended, but another potential factor – gender – has now been identified.

How does gender impact the procedure?

A new cohort study was carried out to compare the outcomes of the procedure in men and women. It included 283 patients in total, 130 of which were female and 153 were male.

All patients underwent a primary arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. A total of 275 patients completed a one-year follow-up. It was discovered that women generally reported higher levels of pain after two weeks, six weeks and three months. This also meant that the use of pain medications to control the pain was higher in women.

Additionally, women also reported more restricted movement in the shoulder after the procedure. Interestingly, there were no sex-related differences reported after one year. So, the study shows that women tend to suffer more from the procedure in the first few months after a rotator cuff repair.

What other factors can impact the results?

As well as gender, there are other factors which can impact the results of a rotator cuff repair. These include:

  • Age
  • Size and severity of the tear
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes

Older patients tend to experience more negative results, as do smokers. There have been many studies conducted which have shown smoking can greatly reduce healing and promote infection.

Obviously, the size and severity of the tear will also determine how successful rotator cuff repair surgery is. Larger, more severe tears are trickier to fix and can require more extensive surgery.

These are just some of the main risk factors patients need to be aware of. Before undergoing a rotator cuff repair, it’s important for patients to discuss the procedure and be aware of the risks involved. This latest study enables shoulder specialists to provide more accurate information over the risks of the surgery for women. It also gives patients more of an idea of what to expect from the procedure. If you have further questions for the London Shoulder Specialists, call 0203 195 2442.

shoulder injury risk

New Year, New You? Minimise Shoulder Injury Risk This January

Looking to get healthier in 2020? Stick to your New Year’s resolutions by minimising shoulder injury risk.

Shoulder injuries are commonly caused by overusing the joint and they can have a debilitating impact on your life if left untreated. So, if you’re looking to get fit by ramping up your exercise, it’s a good idea to be aware of the dangers and take precautions to protect the shoulder.

Here, you’ll discover the best way to minimise shoulder injury this January when you’re undergoing high-impact exercises.

Do high-intensity exercises increase the risk of shoulder injury?

When you look for studies into the impact high-intensity exercises have on shoulder injuries, you’ll find there is some contradictory advice out there.

In April 2019, researchers from the Rutgers university revealed high-intensity interval training did increase the risk of shoulder injury. However, in December 2019, a study carried out by the Mayo Clinic, revealed high-intensity exercises produced very little increased risk of injury.

The latter study followed 100 people as they participated in a high-intensity training program for six weeks. It showed that out of every 1000 training hours carried out, there was an average of 9 injuries. On the start of enrolment into the program, there were 5 injuries per 1000 hours training. Approximately 37.5% of patients suffered an injury during the training.

So, while it is only a slight increase, you are at risk of developing a shoulder injury if you do sign up to high-intensity training programs. Interestingly the studies also revealed the risks were higher when patients carried out these exercises unsupervised.

Minimising shoulder injury risk

The good news is, while the risks are slightly increased with high-intensity exercises, there are ways to minimise them. The main way to reduce your risk of injury is to ensure you’re following the correct technique and movement positions. This relates to all forms of exercise, particularly strength training.

Another way to minimise the risk is to ensure you’re not doing too much too soon. For example, if you’ve taken months away from exercise, it wouldn’t be a good idea to jump right into high-intensity workouts. Instead, you should gradually increase your stamina and strength with lower-impact exercises. That way, your muscles and joints will be prepared for the additional strain placed upon them in high-intensity exercises.

Treating shoulder pain early

While the above is some of the best ways to reduce your risk of injury, if you do start to experience shoulder pain, it’s important to get it seen too quickly.

Many patients put off seeing a professional for their shoulder pain as they believe it’s a normal part of working out. While it is common to ache and hurt a little after partaking in new exercises, if it is persistent it could be a sign of a problem. The earlier you get the pain looked at, the easier the treatment will be if an injury is detected.

Overall, high-intensity workouts do increase your risk of developing a shoulder injury. However, ensuring you are following the correct techniques can reduce these risks significantly. If you have further questions for the London Shoulder Specialists, call 0203 195 2442.

skiing shoulder injuries

Skiing and the Shoulder: ACJ and Clavicle Injuries

Shoulder injuries are common in athletes, but rather than the repetitive motion injuries that plague sports such as cricket or baseball, skiers and snowboarders are at increased risk of falls. This can lead to a number of different skiing shoulder injuries, with the most common being ACJ and clavicle injuries.

Here, we’ll address these common injuries, the treatment required and how you can potentially prevent them.

What are ACJ and clavicle injuries?

ACJ (Acromioclavicular Joint injuries) and clavicle injuries relate to problems with the collarbone. The ACJ is the collarbone joint, while the clavicle is the collarbone itself. These types of injuries can occur alone or happen alongside rotator cuff injuries.

If you do suffer these types of injuries, you’ll experience both pain and swelling in the collarbone area. Initially, the pain may stretch throughout the entire shoulder and collarbone. However, after the injury settles down, the pain will mostly be felt in either the ACJ or Clavicle area.

The most common injury affecting the collarbone is a fractured clavicle. It can easily occur if you fall while skiing and land on your outstretched arm. This can be a really painful injury, with the pain worsening when the arm is lifted.

How are they treated?

London Shoulder Specialist and consultant orthopaedic surgeon Susan Alexander recently presented on these winter sport shoulder injuries at the recent Fortius International Sports Injury Conference.

She warns against succumbing to pressure to undergo surgery immediately if you suffer a clavicle fracture. “Not all clavicle fractures need fixing, so don’t feel under pressure to have surgery immediately at the ski resort. Some clinics are very keen to fix things immediately, but you should be able to safely return home and seek a second opinion.

“However, if you have a clavicle injury where the skin is broken, or which poses a threat to nerves and arteries or to other injuries, urgent attention will be required.”

If you suffer an ACJ injury, these can also usually wait until you arrive back home to be treated. Like clavicle injuries, these don’t always require treatment. It’s best to consult a shoulder surgeon, rather than just a fracture clinic to have the injury fully assessed. They will then be able to advise you of the best course of treatment moving forward.

Can you prevent these skiing shoulder injuries?

As the majority of these ski-related injuries are caused by falls, it can be very tricky to prevent them. Strengthening your core and making sure you only tackle trails you can comfortably handle, will however reduce the chances of some falls.

If you are just starting out with skiing, you can also make sure you take plenty of lessons before hitting the slopes properly. Ensuring you wear all of the relevant safety gear will also help.

Another common skiing injury is to the thumb, accounting for about 5% of all ski injuries and often known as Skier’s Thumb. As Susan explains, “a fall can cause the thumb to be forced backwards in the hand straps of the ski poles on impact, tearing the ligaments in the thumb”.

Her advice on how to avoid this injury: “The best prevention is to use your ski pole strap correctly. Put your hand through the bottom of the strap and hold your ski pole handle over the strap. This means you can quickly drop the pole and protect your thumb, while the pole remains securely strapped around your wrist.”

Overall, upper limb injuries are common in skiers and snowboarders. It isn’t always possible to prevent them, but treatment is available if you do suffer a serious injury. Mild to moderate injuries can often be resolved without the need for surgery. Before seeking treatment, it is a good idea to undergo a consultation with a specialist shoulder surgeon. They will be able to identify the problem and its severity.

For diagnosis and treatment of skiing shoulder injuries, call 0203 195 2442 to arrange a consultation at the London Shoulder Specialists.

surfing shoulder injuries

Surfing Injuries Found to Mostly Involve Knee or Shoulder

A new study has revealed that surfing injuries largely involve the knee or shoulder. Researchers from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, discovered shoulder injuries were the most prevalent, followed by knee injuries.

Interestingly, the study also revealed most knee and shoulder injuries suffered by surfers, don’t require surgery. Here, we’ll look at what the study revealed and how these injuries could potentially be avoided.

Understanding the study

The researchers from the New York-based hospital, carried out the latest study due to a lack of reported surfing-related injuries. They wanted to determine the kinds of injuries surfers experienced, particularly orthopaedic injuries.

A retrospective review was carried out, using medical records from patients who presented with surfing-related injuries from January 2009 to August 2018. They identified shoulder injuries were the most common, relating to 46% of surfing injuries. This was followed by knee injuries at 28%, foot and ankle related injuries at 9% and spine injuries at 6%.

The limited studies carried out prior to this one commonly pointed to the lower extremities and the head being the most commonly injured in surfing. However, this latest study reveals the opposite, highlighting the dangers to the upper body. Out of the shoulder injuries presented, most had suffered an anterior shoulder dislocation. In terms of knee injuries, torn medial collateral ligaments were most common.

Interestingly, the study also showed that out of all of the surfing injuries experienced, only 17% of patients required surgery to fix the issue. The conclusion of the study was that although surfers are at risk of injury, out of all of the different sports, it is still one of the safest.

Can these surfing shoulder injuries be prevented?

While surfing is considered one of the safest sports, it is still worth being aware of preventative measures you can take to reduce the risk of injury.

Making sure you’ve had adequate lessons before getting in the water is essential. This will teach you how to correctly manoeuvre the board through waves and how to keep your balance. Another thing that will improve your balance, is working on strengthening your core.

You should also pay attention to weather conditions. Being aware of riptides and rough waves will prevent you from taking unnecessary risks when surfing. However, as water conditions can change quickly, it isn’t always possible to prevent falls or injuries when surfing.

What treatment is required?

The treatment required for shoulder related injuries that occur during surfing will be dependent upon the type of injury sustained. If anterior shoulder dislocation has occurred, it could simply be popped back into place depending upon the severity of the dislocation.

Occasionally, surgery may be required but only for the most severe injuries. It is really important to seek a diagnosis from a trained shoulder surgeon. They will be able to assess the shoulder and pinpoint the exact problem, alongside the best course of treatment to resolve it. Most treatments will likely be non-invasive, particularly if the injury is mild.

For diagnosis and treatment of surfing shoulder injuries, call 0203 195 2442 to arrange a consultation at the London Shoulder Specialists.

shoulder pops while exercising

5 Reasons Why Your Shoulder Might Pop or Grind During Exercise

Do you find your shoulder pops or grinds during an exercise? As well as feeling strangely uncomfortable, this popping and grinding can also be preventing you from partaking in your favourite workout.

So, why does this happen? Here, you’ll discover 5 reasons popping and grinding of the shoulder can occur when you work out.

1. Loose shoulder ligaments

Although not as common as tight ligaments, some patients do experience discomfort or pain due to loose ligaments allowing abnormal movements of the shoulder. This is also often referred to as ‘double jointed’. It is known medically as ligamentous laxity. Physiotherapy is the starting point for treatment if symptoms are arising. Surgery is a last resort.

2. Shoulder impingement

Impingement is a common shoulder problem, caused when the subacromial bursa or the rotator cuff is pinched on movement. Anyone can develop this problem but it may be seen more often in overhead athletes. It can also lead to clicking of the shoulder. There are a number of treatments available for impingement, including exercises, steroid injections and finally surgery.

3. Gas build-up

Did you know over time, gas build up can occur within your joints? Known as cavitation, you won’t usually feel any pain, but it can lead to popping or grinding of the shoulder when you exercise.

This is because gases are released from the synovial fluid which is responsible for lubricating the joint. These gases contain a mixture of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. As long as there is no pain alongside the popping sound, gas build-up doesn’t require any treatment.

4. Rotator cuff or labral tears

If the noise sounds more like grinding than popping, it could be down to a rotator cuff or labral tear. Both of these conditions can cause unusual noises when you exercise. Rotator cuff tears involve the muscles and tendons that are responsible for keeping the humerus within the socket. Labral tears affect the rubbery disc situated around the socket.

You’ll typically experience some level of pain if a tear is the cause. In order to treat these conditions, you’ll need to see a shoulder specialist and surgery may be required.

5. Shoulder arthritis

In some cases, the popping you hear could be down to osteoarthritis of the shoulder. The joints degenerate over time, reducing the space between the bones. This, in turn, causes the bones to start to rub together, resulting in a cracking or grinding sound when you exercise.

A shoulder specialist will be able to determine whether shoulder arthritis is the cause of the popping and you may need to avoid certain activities or make lifestyle changes.

These are just some of the main causes of why your shoulder pops or clicks when you exercise. As each cause requires a different type of treatment, it’s worth seeking a diagnosis from a professional. While some types of popping and grinding are harmless, others should be treated as soon as possible.

smoking and shoulder surgery

Smoking and shoulder surgery

Shoulder surgery, like any surgery, can present a number of risks. These risks can be increased due to numerous factors, with smoking being one of the main contributing factors.

A number of studies have been carried out to determine the risks smoking presents to shoulder surgery patients. The latest retrospective study into smoking and shoulder surgery has revealed its complication risks differ between procedures.

Here, we’ll look at what this latest study found and how smoking impacts the risks of different types of shoulder surgeries.

Understanding the latest study

The study took data from the National Surgery Quality Improvement Program database, compiled by the American College of Surgeons. In total, there were 134,822 cases included in the study.

The patients involved had undergone eight different shoulder and knee surgeries and were analysed using multivariate and univariate analyses. The shoulder procedures included in the study were arthroscopy with debridement, arthroscopy with subacromial decompression, arthroscopy with distal clavicle excision and subacromial arthroscopy with rotator cuff repair.

The study highlighted several complications in a 30-day period including pulmonary, wound, cardiac and clotting. Out of the procedures analysed, smoking was found to be an independent risk factor for two specific procedures. These were shoulder arthroscopy with debridement and arthroscopy with subacromial decompression.

Smoking and its effects on rotator cuff surgery

This latest study isn’t the only one to identify smoking as a risk factor for rotator cuff surgery.

A previous study carried out on 235 patients showed that the results of the procedure were better in non-smokers. They experienced a much higher degree of function, alongside less pain than the smoking group. Just 35% of smokers received good or excellent results, a lot less than the 84% experienced by non-smokers.

An earlier study which was carried out back in 2006, discovered that smoking could affect bone to tendon healing. Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine found that nicotine exposure can delay healing between bone and tendons, potentially causing rotator cuff repair to fail.

In some cases, rotator cuff repairs were shown to fail within just days or weeks of the procedure. It is for this reason many surgeons refuse to operate on patients who smoke.

Other risks of smoking and shoulder surgery

It is known that smoking presents a lot of risks in and after surgery. Patients have an increased risk of suffering heart or lung complications. The risk of infection is also higher, as is impaired wound healing.

Smokers often also need to have higher levels of anaesthesia, which also presents its own risks. In rare cases, mortality can also occur, with smokers shown to be 38% more likely to die after the surgery. The risk of this is still small, but it’s higher than it would be if patients didn’t smoke.

This latest study interestingly reveals the impact smoking can have on specific shoulder surgeries. For this reason, it is advised patients to quit prior to undergoing surgery. The benefits of quitting smoking reach far beyond lowering the risk factors of procedures. You’ll also experience the benefits pretty quickly after stopping.

For more advice on how best to prepare for shoulder surgery, call 0203 195 2442 to arrange a consultation with the London Shoulder Specialists.