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Shoulder Surgery


We can diagnose and treat your shoulder pain.

Sports, injuries and even daily wear and tear can cause the bones, muscles and tendons in your shoulder to ache and limit your ability to do the things you love.

But shoulder surgery options at Ballad Health can relieve your pain and help you regain mobility.

Common shoulder conditions

  • Impingement syndrome – Also called swimmer’s shoulder, impingement occurs when connective tissues and tendons rub against the shoulder blade.
  • Osteoarthritis – With osteoarthritis, the cartilage that cushions your shoulder gradually deteriorates, eventually leaving your bones rubbing against each other.
  • Rotator cuff injury – The muscles and tendons that hold your shoulder in place are called the rotator cuff, and they can become injured after a substantial incident or following years of repetitive strain and motion.
  • SLAP tear – A superior labral anterior posterior (SLAP) lesion, or tear, occurs when the cartilage becomes damaged, either through an injury or repeated activity.

Should you consider shoulder surgery?

Talk to your physician if shoulder pain limits your movement or causes chronic pain. He or she might recommend:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Orthotics and bracing
  • Physical therapy
  • Rest

Shoulder surgery might be an option if your shoulder pain:

  • Causes you to lose sleep
  • Continues even when you’re not using the arm
  • Impairs your ability to lift and reach
  • Radiates (spreads) up and down your arm
  • Weakens your arm

However, you might not be a good candidate for shoulder surgery if you have:

  • Existing medical conditions, such as cardiovascular or respiratory problems
  • Failed previous shoulder surgery
  • Multiple tears in your shoulder tendons or muscles
  • No attempt at physical therapy or non-surgical treatment
  • Tears with good range of motion, mild pain and sufficient strength to do most activities of daily living
  • Weakened tissue (including shortened or retracted tissue)

Surgical services for shoulder repair

Ballad Health partners with highly skilled orthopedic surgeons in our region to ensure you receive surgical care that’s specific to your needs, including:

Shoulder arthroscopy

Shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure in which a small camera allows the surgeon to see inside your shoulder. During shoulder arthroscopy, the surgeon will use small tools to repair your joint.

This procedure makes diagnosis, treatment and recovery from surgery easier and faster. Common arthroscopic procedures include:

  • Bone spur removal
  • Removal of inflamed tissue or loose cartilage
  • Removal or repair of the labrum (the edge of your shoulder socket)
  • Repair of ligaments
  • Rotator cuff repair
  • Repair for recurring dislocated shoulders

Less common procedures such as nerve release, fracture repair and cyst removal can also be performed using an arthroscope.

Some surgical procedures, such as shoulder replacement, still require open surgery with more extensive incisions.

Rotator cuff repair

If the rotator cuff is injured, it might need to be repaired surgically. Surgical options can include shaving off bone spurs that are pinching the shoulder or repairing torn tendons or muscles in the shoulder. Surgical techniques that may be used to repair a tear of the rotator cuff include arthroscopy, open surgery or a combination of both.

The goal of rotator cuff repair surgery is to restore the function and flexibility of the shoulder and to relieve the pain that cannot be controlled by other treatments.

What happens during rotator cuff repair?

During rotator cuff repair, your orthopedic surgeon will make an incision in the shoulder area. The incision will vary, depending on whether you’re having open or arthroscopic surgery.

Other incisions might be made if your surgeon plans to use small grasping, probing or cutting tools. During the surgery, injured tendons and muscles will be repaired or replaced with a graft tendon from another part of the body, and bone spurs (if present) will be removed.

The incision(s) will be then closed with stitches or surgical staples.

Shoulder replacement

With a shoulder replacement, your surgeon can replace just the ball (partial replacement) of your shoulder or both the ball and the socket (total replacement).

During shoulder replacement surgery, all or part of your problem shoulder is replaced with an artificial joint, called a prosthesis. The prosthesis replaces the rough, worn parts of your shoulder with smooth metal and plastic parts. You have many options for different prostheses, and your surgeon will discuss the best one for your condition.

During your surgery, incision about six-inches long is made from your collarbone to your arm. Once the new joint is in place, your surgeon will close the incision with surgical staples or sutures (stitches).

What do our shoulder surgery patients say?

What I’m most excited about is being pain-free. If I could do anything differently I wish I had done the surgery earlier. Finally, after all these years, pain is no longer in control of what I want to do!” – Matt Hardin
Read Matt’s story.

Learn more about shoulder surgery

To find out more about shoulder surgery in East Tennessee or Southwest Virginia – including total shoulder replacement – please call Ballad Health at:

  • Bristol Regional joint replacement center – (423) 844-4308
  • Holston Valley joint replacement center – Wanda Salyer, (423) 224-5485
  • Johnson City Medical Center shoulder surgery – Misty Jenkins, (423) 431-6937
  • Johnston Memorial orthopedic services – Emily Nutter, (276) 258-3453
  • Laughlin / Greeneville Orthopedic Clinic – Ann Neal, (423) 431-2376
  • Smyth County Community orthopedic services – Nicole Reasor, (276) 378-2063
  • Sycamore Shoals orthopedic services – Lisa Hayes, (423) 542-1394

If the hospital closest to you isn’t listed above, please call (423) 431-6937 for more information.