The shoulder is a very complex joint, and shoulder surgery is best performed by an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in it. Berks County’s Dr. Stephen R. Soffer is such a surgeon. His vast amount of training and experience allows him to provide a wide range of treatments to individuals who suffer from shoulder problems.
Dr. Soffer, in Wyomissing, is board certified in both orthopedic surgery and orthopedic sports medicine. His expertise has earned him inclusion as one of Castle Connolly’s America’s Top Doctors® in Orthopedic Surgery and one of U.S. News & World Report’s Top Doctors for the last five years. Doctors are nominated for these lists by their peers and then rigorously screened by doctor-directed research teams before being selected.
Dr. Soffer specializes in the treatment of many sports-related injuries, the open and arthroscopic treatment of knee, shoulder and elbow injuries, and artificial joint replacement for arthritis of the knee, shoulder and hip. He was fellowship trained by James R. Andrews, MD, a renowned orthopedic surgeon, and has published articles about shoulder disorders and made academic presentations at medical conferences around the world on the topic.
Through arthroscopic surgery, Dr. Soffer can see the entire shoulder joint on a TV monitor, repair cartilage and tears through several small incisions, and move the camera around to address other shoulder issues. Arthroscopic surgery offers minimal trauma, less scarring and less damage to surrounding tissue.
Rotator Cuff Repair
Rotator cuff problems can be caused by a variety of things, including degenerative, genetic, inflammatory, age or activity related reasons. Although tears can occur during a single injury, most problems are related to tendonitis and degenerative causes.
If you are experiencing some or all of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from a rotator cuff problem:
- »» pain or tenderness in the shoulder joint
- »» pain in the front of the shoulder that radiates to the side of the arm
- »» pain with lowering the shoulder from a raised position
- »» pain when reaching behind your back
- »» weakness and loss of motion when raising the arm above your head
- »» loss of normal shoulder rotation
Many rotator cuff tears can be treated without surgery. Anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, and physical therapy may all be helpful in treating symptoms of a cuff tear. If pain or weakness in your shoulder persists or you use the arm for overhead work or sports, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend arthroscopic surgery.
Arthroscopic Labral Repair
The upper arm bone socket is surrounded by a rubbery cartilage called the labrum, which cushions the socket, adds stability, decreases friction, and connects tendons to the shoulder joint.
Symptoms of a torn labrum include:
- »» pain when moving your arm over your head or throwing a ball
- »» sharp pop or catching sensation
- »» a feeling of weakness or looseness
- »» decreased range of motion
- »» rotator cuff weakness
Most labral tears can be treated without surgery. If the symptoms are not alleviated by rest, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy, however, your doctor may suggest arthroscopic surgery to repair the labrum.
Total Shoulder Replacement
You may benefit from shoulder replacement surgery if you suffer from:
- »» severe shoulder pain that interferes with normal daily activities
- »» pain that is severe enough to prevent a good night’s sleep
- »» loss of motion and/or weakness in the shoulder
- »» failure to improve after other treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, or physical therapy
Although less common than knee or hip replacement, total shoulder joint replacement is safe and effective for relieving pain and restoring comfort and mobility. Dr. Soffer has vast experience in total shoulder replacement surgery and can evaluate your particular situation to determine whether you are a candidate for the procedure.
Most shoulder problems are the result of overuse or traumatic injury, and surgery is not always necessary. If you live, work or play in Berks County, call 610-375-4949 to explore your treatment options with Dr. Soffer.