Total Shoulder Replacement and Reverse Shoulder Replacement

While somewhat less common than hip or knee replacement, shoulder replacement surgery is a procedure with proven effectiveness for relieving pain and improving quality of life.  And the improvements in pain and range of motion following shoulder replacement are similar to those of hip and/or knee replacements.

Patients who experience advanced arthritis in their shoulders or have large tears in their rotator cuffs often find replacement of the joints to be the best option if conservative treatment efforts prove ineffective.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, more than 53,000 people in the U.S. undergo shoulder replacement surgery each year.

Some patients who benefit from this procedure find that even simple tasks like raising their arms to put on shirts or lifting cups of water are nearly impossible due to pain prior to surgical intervention. But shoulder replacement enables most patients to return to a moderate and sensible level of activity and movement.

 Are you a candidate for shoulder replacement?

Consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon at Campbell Clinic is the best way to determine if you are a candidate for shoulder replacement surgery. Some of the factors below may also indicate that it’s the right option for you.

  • Moderate or severe pain in your shoulder, even while sitting or resting
  • Reduction in range of motion in your shoulder or progressive weakness in the joint
  • Inability to lift light objects or significant pain while performing simple tasks such as dressing or showering

Which approach is right for you?

Total Shoulder Replacement

During a total shoulder replacement, the damaged surfaces in an arthritic joint are replaced with artificial components that include a metal ball attached to a stem and a plastic socket. A patient with an intact rotator cuff tendon who suffers from advanced osteoarthritis would likely benefit from a total shoulder replacement.

Reverse Shoulder Replacement

For older individuals who suffer from a large rotator cuff tear, with or without arthritis, a reverse shoulder replacement may be a better option. During a reverse replacement, the surgeon still implants a metal ball and a plastic socket; but switches the placement of these components so the socket is instead attached to the upper humerus and the ball opposite it. This reconstitutes the function of the rotator cuff and typically allows patients to improve their range of motion, particularly in overhead activities.

Other partial joint replacement procedures include replacing only one component, typically the humeral head.

For a complete list of Campbell Clinic total joint replacement specialists, click here.

For more information about shoulder replacement in the outpatient setting, please contact the following physicians who perform these procedures in our surgery center:

Additional Shoulder Replacement FAQs

During outpatient shoulder replacement surgery, the damaged parts of the shoulder are removed and replaced with artificial components. The treatment options are either replacement of just the head of the humerus bone (ball) or replacement of both the ball and the socket (glenoid).

A reverse total shoulder replacement is used for people who have completely torn rotator cuffs with severe arm weakness, the effects of severe arthritis and rotator cuff tearing or had a previous shoulder replacement that failed. For these individuals, a conventional total shoulder replacement can still leave them with pain. They may also be unable to lift their arm up past a 90-degree angle. Not being able to lift your arm away from the side can be severely debilitating. In reverse total shoulder replacement, the socket and metal ball as switched: a metal ball is attached to the shoulder bone, and a plastic socket is attached to the upper arm bone. The allows the patient to use the deltoid muscle instead of the torn rotator cuff to lift the arm.

Although every situation is unique, the operation takes approximately 2 hours.

In most cases this surgery is considered same day, you will go home with post-operative instructions from your surgeon and physical therapy protocols to follow. You will wear a sling and will have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon 6 weeks after surgery.

Thousands of patients have experienced an improved quality of life after shoulder replacement surgery. They experience less pain, improved motion and strength, and better function.

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