Shoulder Replacements2019-06-11T22:23:57-08:00


3 Types of Shoulder Replacements

Shoulder replacements are needed due to damage of the shoulder joint from arthritis from various causes –
  • degenerative or osteoarthritis
  • inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • post-traumatic arthritis due to injuries
  • chronic severe rotator cuff tears
  • disrupted blood supply (avascular necrosis, osteonecrosis)
A total shoulder replacement surgery is performed to improve function of the shoulder and decrease shoulder pain.
Before surgery is considered, we most often recommend non-surgical options such as activity modification, physical therapy, medications, and/or injections.
When pain or stiffness or inflammation of the shoulder limits a patient’s daily activities such as dressing or causes persistent pain at rest despite the above measures, surgery may be considered. The goals of shoulder replacement are to relieve pain, improve shoulder function and improve quality of life.

1. Traditional Total Shoulder Replacement

The head or ball of the humerus is replaced with a metal ball and the socket is replaced with a plastic socket.

2. Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

In this type of surgery, the ball and socket positions are reversed allowing the patient to use their deltoid muscle to perform some of the rotator cuff muscle functions. This is an option that may be best in patients with arthritis from chronic severe rotator cuff tears, severe arthritis from various causes, or complete tears of the rotator cuff with severe weakness. Also, it may be considered for patients with chronic, recurrent dislocations.

3. Hemiarthroplasty (stemmed or resurfacing)

This is a less invasive method with quicker rehab times. Only the ball portion of the joint is replaced. This is a good method when the socket’s cartilage and rotator cuff muscles are in good condition or when a patient has poor quality bone on the socket portion. This can be a good choice for patients with severe rotator cuff tears plus arthritis and also for patients that cannot tolerate prolonged surgery due to other medical conditions.

Shoulder Replacement FAQ’s

How Long is Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Usually from the time an incision is made to the time the incision is closed varies but is often around 2 hours.

 How Long is Shoulder Replacement Recovery Time?

Most of our patients are ready to go home the same day or occasionally after 1-2 overnight stays. Pain medication is often needed for the first few days. You will wear a sling and not driver for about 2-4 weeks. Pain at night and after activity is common for a few weeks.  Most patients begin normal easy daily activities such as dressing within the first 2 weeks. A gradual progression and return to full activities occur with a home exercise program and/or a physical therapist. Most patients are back to normal activities after 6 weeks and more active lifestyle after 6-12 weeks or more of rehab.

How Long Does a Shoulder Replacement last?

Shoulder replacements have good outcomes for around 10-15 years, though pain can return.

Shoulder Replacement Resources

Details of shoulder replacement surgery with photos
Details of reverse total shoulder replacement with photos
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