Subscapularis-sparing shoulder replacement is a new technique in shoulder surgery – one that very few surgeons, such as Dr. Goldberg, are currently performing in the United States. The subscapularis-sparing technique is an innovative approach to shoulder replacement that has the potential for improving surgical outcomes with less recovery time and quicker return to full activity. Dr. Goldberg also teaches Subscapularis techniques to other surgeons around the country and is published on this topic.

Traditional Approaches to Shoulder Surgery

A shoulder replacement (arthroplasty) is an orthopedic surgical procedure that replaces damaged, arthritic portions of the bone with implants. A typical shoulder replacement operation begins with the detachment of the subscapularis, one of the four rotator cuff muscles responsible for arm mobility and shoulder stability that surrounds the bones of the shoulder. One way to visualize the anatomy of your shoulder is to think of the subscapularis muscle as the front door. To place the implant within the shoulder, the subscapularis must be temporarily detached from one side (like opening a door) during surgery.

Subscapularis-Sparing Technique: A Potential Solution

After traditional shoulder surgery, you are required to wear a sling and restrict movement to allow healing of the subscapularis muscle, not to protect the implants. Once in place, the implants usually pose little risk, but it is important that the subscapularis heals properly for optimal function. To ensure this, patients must limit strenuous activity and vigorous movement for several weeks after surgery. 

The subscapularis is one of the most important muscles in your shoulder and is responsible for assisting in movements, such as reaching behind your back or reaching across your body. The subscapularis-sparing approach to shoulder arthroplasty uses specially designed, modified, techniques to minimize damage to this important muscle. In theory, if the subscapularis is not detached or only partially detached during surgery, it does not need to be protected or immobilized as long, and this means you can more quickly resume your normal activities. 

Who is a Candidate for Subscapularis-Sparing Shoulder Replacement?

Subscapularis-sparing surgery is not suitable for every patient since it is a newly developing procedure that has only been performed recently and is still being refined. Dr. Goldberg usually offers this surgery to patients who need a quick recovery for their jobs or personal needs, such as caring for a family member.

Schedule a Consultation

By sparing the removal of the subscapularis, there is a greater potential that shoulder mobility will not be significantly impaired after surgery. To determine whether you are a candidate for this innovative surgical procedure, schedule a consultation with Dr. Steven S. Goldberg, MD, in Naples, FL.