What are the Signs of a Failed Shoulder Surgery?

What are the Signs of a Failed Shoulder Surgery?


A failed shoulder surgery is any surgery that doesn’t meet the expectations and resulted in recurring pain and unwanted symptoms. In most cases, all surgeries are associated with risks, either or high. Your doctor will always advise on the risk level of the surgery with you before going through the process.

The most common types of failed surgeries include those rotator cuff repairs and shoulder stabilization. When you opt for shoulder surgery, you should always ask your doctor about the risk involved. If the risk of failure is high, your doctor will advise you to go for a non-surgery solution like physical therapy, rest, and medication.

So, what are the likely signs of failed arthroscopy you should watch out for?

The signs and symptoms of a failed shoulder surgery will depend on the type of surgery performed on the shoulder and the original shoulder condition. It also varies from person to person. You are likely to have the following symptoms after a failed shoulder surgery:

  • Instability when walking or standing
  • General body weakness
  • Persistent pain after the surgery
  • Stiffness on the shoulder
  • A cracking sound on the shoulder (Crepitus)

What is likely to cause failed shoulder surgery?

The following are some of the factors likely to contribute to failed shoulder surgery:

  • Infection caused by not keeping the dressing clean
  • Formation of scar tissue or adhesion on the affected area
  • Using oversized implants for joint and tissues replacement
  • Failure to heal a fracture
  • Your body reacts to implants

What is the diagnosis for failed shoulder surgery?

After a failed shoulder surgery, your doctor will assess the history of the shoulder problem and advise you. The doctor will review the reports from the previous surgical procedure. Your doctor is likely to ask you for the facts on the injury to your shoulder, information on when you started experiencing the symptoms, and information about the damage.

The doctor will then proceed to perform a physical examination of the shoulder. He will order imaging tests to view the joint and site of surgery. This is done to identify any cause of surgery failure.

Treatment options for a failed shoulder surgery 

Once your doctor has diagnosed you with a failed shoulder surgery, they recommend a surgical or non-surgical treatment option.

  • Non-surgical: For this option, the doctor uses conservative methods to assess how the shoulder will respond to treatment. The doctor may prescribe some medication to ease the pain and other corticosteroid injections. To stretch and strengthen the affected shoulder, a physical therapy program is recommended by the doctor.
  • Surgical: If your shoulder does not respond to any conservative treatment option, the doctor may be forced to recommend another shoulder surgery to alleviate the pain.

The surgery will also aim at improving the condition and functionality of the shoulder.

Your doctor will also recommend a revision surgery to remove any adhesions, correct loose implants, balance tissues, and improve shoulder stability.