The doctor. Eduardo Sánchez Alepuz is a traumatologist and belongs to Top Doctors, the select circle of top-level doctors in Spain. As an expert in shoulder surgeries in athletes will explain the details of this surgery.
Among athletes, which shoulder injuries are the most common?
There are 2 types of frequent injuries, some that are due to direct trauma, when the athlete falls and hits the shoulder joint. And there are others, which are the most frequent, which are related to the type of activity and sport they develop, usually injuries due to overuse or overuse of the joint, mainly in athletes who perform pitches such as baseball pitchers, although this especially in the United States, in Spain much less, handball players, tennis for serve, javelin throwers or any other type of pitch, and there is also another group that suffer many shoulder injuries from overuse, by type of movement that he makes, which are the swimmers. These would be the main injuries that affect the shoulder in both the professional and amateur sportsman.
What type of surgery can be used?
Usually we use arthroscopic surgery, which is a minimally invasive surgery, which is done through small portals or approaches by which we introduce on one side the vision optics, which allows us to see the different structures that make up the shoulder through a screen, and for the rest of portals we will introduce the instruments and the necessary material to make the repairs of the injuries that the shoulder has. The advantages of arthroscopic surgery on the one hand is the lower aggressiveness with which the post-operative is much more comfortable, less inflammatory process and a much faster recovery for the athlete. On the other hand allows us to make an assessment of that shoulder reproducing the gestures that usually the athlete performs in their usual activity. This has allowed us to interpret injuries that before, otherwise, were difficult to diagnose and therefore to treat.
How is the post-operative?
The immediate postoperative period, after an arthroscopic surgery, is characterized by having less pain and less inflammation. This, obviously, in the athlete supposes greater comfort. On the other hand, this fact allows us to include patients in the rehabilitation and physiotherapy protocols earlier, which in the case of elite athletes means a shortening in the recovery period.
How is the recovery process after surgery?
Recovery after arthroscopic surgery will depend on 2 main factors. One is the type of injury that we have repaired and another and very important the type of sport that they practice. According to these 2 factors, we individually and individually subject each athlete to physiotherapy and rehabilitation protocols.. Usually these protocols last between 4 and 6 months, reaching full recovery and acquiring the prelesional level between 6 and 9 months after surgery.