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Your Guide to Shoulder Bursectomy Surgery

Shoulder pain, whether caused by injury or the natural aging process, can make it hard to do your job, or take part in your favorite hobbies or activities. Although this pain can result in a drain on your quality of life, it is important to keep a positive mindset. There are a wide range of treatments that can bring effective relief, and by educating yourself as a patient, you can take a more proactive role in your recovery. 

One therapy that many patients undergo is a surgical procedure known as bursectomy. This is an operation that involves removing an inflamed bursa that causes a condition known as bursitis. Take a moment to read the following guide and contact our team if you have any questions or would like to learn more. 

Understanding bursitis of the shoulder

Bursitis is a condition where one of the bursa in the joints becomes inflamed, causing pain, stiffness and mobility problems. Bursae are present in most of the major joints, but most commonly become inflamed in load-bearing joints such as the shoulders, hips and knees. 

The most common causes of bursitis include overuse injuries caused by repetitive and/or strenuous motions. Shoulder bursitis is common in athletes and people who work physical jobs that involve shoulder movements, such as carpenters and plumbers. Patients generally report achy and stiff shoulder joints, a visibly inflamed area and tenderness around the shoulder.  

How does bursectomy relieve inflamed shoulder joints?

The goal of bursectomy is to access the shoulder joint and remove the inflamed bursa. This will allow the bursa to grow back without the previous inflammation. This relieves the pain and inflammation in surrounding bone and soft tissue, helping to improve function and potentially reduce joint damage. 

When to consider bursectomy shoulder surgery

Any type of surgery for bursitis, including bursectomy, is usually indicated when other forms of conservative treatment have been exhausted without bringing the relief necessary for a good quality of life. Bursitis very often improves on its own and with the help of basic conservative treatments. Patients can manage bursitis symptoms through:

  • Resting the shoulder joint as much as possible and limiting strenuous activities
  • Using over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication
  • Undergoing physical therapy to strengthen the joint and improve range of motion
  • Receiving corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation over an intermediate period

When considering surgery, patients will undergo a thorough evaluation to determine the best type of procedure for their needs. In some cases, the best option is to drain the inflamed bursa, while other cases warrant full removal through bursectomy. 

Understanding the advantages of minimally invasive bursectomy

Bursectomy can generally be performed using minimally invasive endoscopic techniques that allow for an outpatient procedure. These techniques enable the orthopedic surgeon to access the shoulder joint through a smaller incision and with less disruption to the surrounding tissue. 

This helps promote a quicker healing time and the potential for a shorter recovery and rehabilitation period. 

Learn more from the dedicated team at USA Spine Care & Orthopedics

If you are dealing with shoulder bursitis and searching for lasting relief, reach out to the caring team at USA Spine Care & Orthopedics. We can help you develop a highly individualized treatment plan no matter where you are in the care process. From physical therapy and pain-relieving injection to minimally invasive surgery at our state-of-the-art outpatient procedures, our goal is to get you back to the healthy and active lifestyle you deserve. 

Bursectomy Quick Answers

What is a bursectomy?

A bursectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removing an inflamed bursa, which is a small fluid-filled sac that lubricates and cushions the joints. If a bursa becomes inflamed, resulting in a condition known as bursitis, it can cause pain and dysfunction. A bursectomy can often be performed on an outpatient basis through the use of minimally invasive, endoscopic techniques. 

Who performs a bursectomy?

Bursectomy surgery is performed by an orthopedic surgeon who has been carefully trained in this type of procedure. Orthopedic surgeons are specialists in performing surgeries that treat musculoskeletal disorders, including bursitis. After completing medical school, a prospective orthopedic surgeon must then must complete a surgical residency and fellowship to be able to perform procedures such as bursectomy. 

Does bursa grow back after bursectomy?

The goal of bursectomy is for the bursa to grow back after the procedure, but without the inflamed component that causes pain. The bursae are essential parts of a joint, helping to provide cushioning and enabling smooth movement. 

How long does it take to recover from a bursectomy?

Bursectomy recovery varies on a case-by-case basis depending on the patient and the specific type of procedure. A shoulder bursectomy may require a 10 to 14 days for the incision to heal, followed by a six to 12-week recovery and rehabilitation phase. It is important to follow your specific recovery timetable and not engage in any activities until cleared by your surgical team. 

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