Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


My father-in-law had surgery on his shoulder to repair a torn rotator cuff. Afterwards he had a lot of swelling on the back of his neck down into the back of his shoulder. What could cause this problem?


Swelling of the neck, nerve problems, and even death of skin tissue can occur after arthroscopic surgery. Evidently the surgeon pushes fluid into the joint during the operation. This helps keep the joint open. It also washes away any blood that might keep the surgeon from seeing what he or she is doing.

The longer the surgery takes, the more fluid is forced into the joint. This increases the chances of problems occurring. Surgeons are encouraged to shorten the operating time as much as possible to reduce the amount of fluid put into the joint.

Ian K. Y. Lo, MD, FRCSC, and Stephen S. Burkhart, MD. Immediate Postoperative Fluid Retention and Weight Gain after Shoulder Arthroscopy. In Arthroscopy. May 2005. Vol. 21. No. 5. Pp. 605-610.

*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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