Shoulder Reconstruction

Daniel Schwartz, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon, Shoulder Specialist, Seattle, WA

About Shoulder Reconstruction Surgery

Shoulder reconstruction stands as a pioneering solution in orthopedic medicine, offering a renewed lease of life to individuals grappling with debilitating shoulder conditions. This intricate surgical procedure involves restoring the anatomy and function of the shoulder joint, primarily addressing issues related to instability, injury, or degenerative conditions. The shoulder, being one of the most mobile joints in the body, is susceptible to a range of injuries and ailments that can significantly impact daily life.

When Shoulder Reconstruction is Needed

Shoulder reconstruction becomes a necessity when individuals experience persistent pain, dislocations, or a limited range of motion in the shoulder joint. Common indications include traumatic injuries from accidents, chronic shoulder instability due to repeated dislocations, and degenerative conditions such as arthritis. When conservative treatments like physical therapy, medications, or injections fail to provide relief, orthopedic surgeons may recommend shoulder reconstruction to enhance stability, alleviate pain, and improve overall function.


Key Benefits of Shoulder Reconstruction


Restoration of Stability

Shoulder reconstruction plays a pivotal role in restoring stability to the shoulder joint. Individuals with conditions such as chronic dislocations or ligamentous injuries often experience a sense of insecurity and vulnerability in their shoulder.


Pain Relief and Improved Function

Chronic shoulder pain can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, limiting their ability to perform even routine tasks. Shoulder reconstruction aims to alleviate pain by addressing the underlying causes, such as rotator cuff tears, labral injuries, or arthritis.


Prevention of Recurrent Dislocations

For those who have experienced recurrent shoulder dislocations, shoulder reconstruction provides a definitive solution to break the cycle. The surgical intervention focuses on reinforcing the joint’s structural integrity, making it less prone to dislocations.


Enhanced Quality of Life and Psychological Well-being

Beyond the physical benefits, shoulder reconstruction significantly contributes to an individual’s overall quality of life and psychological well-being. Living with chronic shoulder pain and instability can take a toll on mental health, leading to anxiety, frustration, and limitations in daily activities.

Shoulder Reconstruction Conditions and Indications

Request an appointment

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Schedule a
consultation today

Explore personalized treatment options, and take the first step towards a pain-free, active life.

Pre-Surgry, Procedure, Recovery and Rehabilitation Process

The recovery and rehabilitation process following shoulder reconstruction is a critical phase that determines the long-term success of the surgery.

Prior to shoulder reconstruction, thorough pre-surgery preparations are essential. This includes a comprehensive medical evaluation, imaging studies, and discussions with the surgical team. Patients are educated about the procedure, potential risks, and expected outcomes. Additionally, pre-operative physical therapy may be recommended to optimize shoulder function before surgery.

Following surgery, adherence to post-operative instructions is paramount for a successful recovery. Patients are typically required to wear a sling to support the shoulder and limit movement initially. Physical therapy is gradually introduced to facilitate healing and strengthen the shoulder. Pain management strategies are implemented, and regular follow-up appointments with the surgeon are scheduled to monitor progress and address any concerns.

  1. Immediate Postoperative Care: Immediately after shoulder reconstruction, patients are typically required to wear a supportive sling to protect the shoulder and limit movement. 
  2. Progressive Strengthening Exercises: Gradually, the rehabilitation plan advances to include strengthening exercises. These exercises target the muscles surrounding the shoulder, aiming to rebuild and enhance strength.
  3. Functional Activities and Simulation: The rehabilitation process extends beyond isolated exercises to incorporate functional activities that mimic real-life movements. 
  4. Coordination & Proprioception Training: Restoring coordination and proprioception (awareness of the body's position in space) is an integral part of the rehabilitation process. 
  5. Sport-Specific Rehabilitation (if applicable): For athletes or individuals with sport-specific goals, the rehabilitation program may include sport-specific exercises and drills.
  6. Patient Education and Physical Therapy Programs: Patient education is a continuous aspect of the rehabilitation process. Therapists provide guidance on proper body mechanics, posture, and ergonomics to prevent future injuries
  7. Gradual Return to Activities: The final phase of rehabilitation involves a gradual return to normal activities and, if applicable, sports or recreational pursuits.

While shoulder reconstruction is generally considered safe and effective, it is crucial for patients to be aware of potential risks and complications. These may include infection, blood clots, nerve injury, or issues related to anesthesia. Patients are advised to promptly report any unusual symptoms or concerns to their healthcare team and strictly adhere to post-operative care instructions to minimize these risks.

patient testimonials

Patient Testimonials

“Hello Dr. Schwartz & Melissa : ) Congratulations on your move! It sounds like your expertise is I consider you absolutely tops in your profession and your dedication. You have saved me from debilitating pain and instability from my injured shoulders. You and your team have always treated me with up most care and professionalism.. Your expertise and healing powers where evident from my first visit onward...I immediately felt GREAT and reassured that I made the right decision! I will have no problem recommending Dr. Schwartz M.D. to anyone. Thank-you.”


Wondering if someone could tell Dr. Schwartz that the Deltoid muscle lift exercises are definitely helping. It seems to be getting a little stronger already. I can’t lift my arm by itself yet, but, I can easily lower my arm slowly now, and my reach is a little better, too. I was even able to easily reach down to lace and tie my own hiking boots today! . I really appreciate him, so didn’t want to wait to tell him till my next appointment in January.”


“Dr Schwartz, You performed should surgery on my shoulder two years ago and I have had a great outcome! I am from Alaska and flew down to have you fix my shoulder so that I could resume my life as a massage therapist. Everything is going great!! I so appreciate your help in my recovery. The reason I am writing is that I have a client with a reverse shoulder surgery and I am trying to help him recover but I am not able to really figure out how the muscles all work to move the shoulder...I find that the deltoid is the main mover now but I was wondering if you had any resources to help my understand how all the muscles attach now so that I can help my client. His surgery was in California in January so not done in your office. I realize that this may be a lot to ask but if you could help I'd appreciate it. Thanks! ~wendy hooker PS We had our first big Aurora show last night and it was spectacular!! :)”


“I was put at ease from my 1st visit with Dr. Schwartz. He and Joy, his nurse, and surgery schedulers were very professional and thorough. Most of all, I felt very comfortable on the day of surgery, and afterwards. Dr. Schwartz was very thorough in his explanations. It was so nice to see my surgeon and nurse the morning of surgery smiling at me. Overall a very positive experience!”


“I’ve had very positive experiences with my treatment and the staff. I’ve been really happy with the results of my shoulder surgery (rotator cuff repair) and am more than happy to make referrals of my friends to see Dr. Schwartz and Joy in clinic! If I had to do it all over again, I no doubt would return to see Dr. Schwartz at The Sports Medicine Clinic.”


“I had my shoulder replaced with Dr. S and my shoulder has not felt this good in years! I can finally sleep peacefully at night, and move my arm in ways I could have only dreamed off preop! If you have questions ask Dr. S to send you my way, I’ll be more than happy to talk to you about getting you shoulder replaced with him.tions ask Dr. S to send you my way, I’ll be more than happy to talk to you about getting you shoulder replaced with him.”


“I suffered from multiple shoulder dislocations, and was treated surgically by Dr. Dan Schwartz and was impressed by his thoroughness from the start. He listened very well, and I felt at ease with him from the start. He explained all of the surgical options, and we proceeded with the right option that was right for me. Since surgery, I have been so happy and have strongly recommended him to anyone that will listen! Thanks Dr. Schwartz!”


Thank you so much Dr. Daniel Schwartz for your great work! As a Physical Therapist I did a lot of research to find a shoulder surgeon highly qualified to carry out my Mother's reverse shoulder replacement. I appreciated your taking the time to explain the procedure to my parents, and the surgery turned out better than my mom ever expected. Your staff was kind, professional, and competent. It was well worth the drive from Eastern Washington and I will recommend you to all my patients in need of a shoulder surgery.”


This is the first online comment that I have ever left for a person, product or service, however I was so impressed by Dr. Schwartz as a human being and a surgeon that I felt compelled to share my story. I had a bone chip in my elbow that intermittently (depending where it floated) rendered my elbow immobile. Despite a fairly lengthy procedure, within two days I had minimal swelling and near full mobility. I should note that I was the last patient of the week on Friday afternoon (most medical advisers would recommend against this time slot), and Dr. Schwartz"s previous operation had been particularly challenging. Yet he was kind, caring, and focused in our pre-operative meeting and he performed flawlessly. I might also note that I'm a guy who tries to avoid hospitals and doctors whenever possible, in fact I didn't even go to my primary care doctor until months after the ski accident that caused my injury. I would give kudos to Dr. Schwartz and special mention of his nurse, Joy, during my exams and surgery for allaying my fears and phobias and making the whole episode as good as one could ever expect.”

Gary P Ballard

Dr. Schwartz and Joy are the best!!”


“Greetings: I am an attorney who represents Ms. Laura Kent, a former patient of Dr. Schwartz in 2018. This case is coming up for arbitration in a couple weeks and I would like to get an opinion from Dr. Schwartz as to whether the diagnosis he made oflateral epicondylitis of the right elbow was causally connected to the motor vehicle collision in this matter. Please call or email at your earliest convenience.”

Joe Baker

Just a note to say thank you for the thorough and well-composed information about rotator cuff and sleep. It was really the best I could find. Much gratitude.”


“Was referred by a past patient of yours. Would like to see how quickly I could get in for a Grade 3 AC tear.”

Our Care & Support

Why Choose Us

The trusted destination for personalized and advanced shoulder care through arthroscopic procedures

Personalized Treatment Plans

Recognizing that each patient is unique, we prioritize personalized treatment plans that are  Tailored to your specific condition and needs.

State-of-the-Art Facility

Experience cutting-edge technology and modern facilities that enhance the precision and success of our shoulder arthroscopy procedures.

Compassionate Care

ShoulderMD’s comprehensive care model ensures that you receive continuous support at every stage of your shoulder arthroscopy journey.



The recovery period varies but typically ranges from three to six months, with a gradual return to normal activities.

Physical therapy is key to restoring range of motion, and many patients achieve significant improvement, although individual outcomes may vary.

Success rates are generally high, with most patients experiencing relief from pain and improved shoulder function.

Non-surgical options, such as physical therapy and medications, are explored initially, but surgery may be recommended if these methods prove ineffective.

Yes, one of the key benefits of shoulder reconstruction is the prevention of recurrent dislocations, providing long-term joint stability.

Shoulder reconstruction can be performed at various ages, and candidacy is determined based on individual health and the specific condition.

Arthroscopic shoulder reconstruction involves smaller incisions and a camera for a less invasive approach, often resulting in quicker recovery and less scarring compared to traditional open surgery.

Skip to content