Shoulder Replacement

When is it time to consider shoulder replacement surgery?

And what type of surgery is right for you?

Shoulder replacement surgery requires careful thought and planning, but for those who’ve exhausted other treatment options, it can be the best way to restore range of motion, relieve pain and help you return to an active lifestyle.

Many different conditions can lead to the severe pain and joint degeneration that necessitates a shoulder replacement, including various types of arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis), serious fractures, or a combination of muscle tears and arthritis (such as rotator cuff tear arthropathy).

Understanding the source and nature of your shoulder pain will allow your orthopedic specialist to recommend the right procedure. Depending on the severity and type of condition, there are three types of shoulder replacements that are often considered.

Partial shoulder replacement surgery is often recommended when there is major damage to the head or ball of the upper arm bone (humerus), but the rest of the shoulder is healthy and intact. In this procedure, the ball portion of the upper arm bone is removed and replaced with metal.

Total shoulder replacement surgery is typically used to address arthritis and replaces both the damaged ball (the head of the humerus bone) and socket with metal and/or plastic. While total shoulder replacement recovery can take several months, patients often experience significant improvements in pain and motion following successful surgery and rehabilitation.

Otherwise healthy adults whose rotator cuff and deltoid are intact tend to be good candidates for total shoulder surgery. While there are few age or weight limits obesity, nicotine use and advanced age always increase the risk for post-surgical complications. Patients with severe osteoporosis or susceptibility to infections also have higher risks. 

Reverse shoulder replacement surgery may be the best option when there is significant damage to the shoulder tendons, namely the rotator cuff. If the shoulder joint is arthritic and there is a rotator cuff tear that cannot be repaired, a reverse shoulder replacement may be the best option for surgical treatment.

In this procedure, a prosthetic “ball”, usually metal, is placed on the shoulder socket. A plastic “cup” is then placed where the arthritic ball of the shoulder used to be. In doing so, the anatomy of the shoulder is “reversed” and the deltoid muscle is used to move the shoulder rather than the torn rotator cuff tendons.

Advanced Orthopedic has 10 board certifiedsurgeons who specialize in treatment of shoulder issues. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons considers patients with the following situations potential candidates for reverse rotator cuff surgery:

• A completely torn rotator cuff that cannot be repaired
• Rotator cuff tear arthropathy
• A previous shoulder replacement that was unsuccessful
• Severe shoulder pain and difficulty lifting your arm away from your side or over your head
• A complex fracture of the shoulder joint
• A chronic shoulder dislocation
• A tumor of the shoulder joint
• Patients who have tried other treatments, such as rest, medications, cortisone injections, and physical therapy, that have not relieved shoulder pain

If shoulder pain is severely limiting your daily activities or range of motion,and any of these descriptions apply, it might be time to raise your hand for shoulder replacement surgery. Contact our office to set an appointment.

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