Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


I'm going to have shoulder surgery next week. The doctor has given me the choice of a general anesthesia or a regional block. I understand I'll be awake for the regional block. What happens if I move during the operation when I'm not supposed to?


With a general anesthesia the patient is asleep and therefore doesn't move. With a regional block, you are awake but you are given drugs to sedate or relax you. Movement is possible, but isn't very likely.

Many shoulder surgeries are done now with the patient in a position seated as if in a beach chair. This supports your entire body without putting pressure on one side more than the other. The arm being operated on is placed in a special arm holder. Your body may be gently strapped in place to avoid slipping to one side or the other. A face mask may be used to hold your head in the middle.

Sometimes doctors will use a light general anesthesia along with the block. Talk to your doctor about your choices, especially if you are concerned about having just the regional block.

Julie Y. Bishop, MD, et al. Interscalene Regional Anesthesia for Shoulder Surgery. In Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. May 2005. Vol. 87-A. No. 5. Pp. 974-979.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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