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Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder osteoarthritis is the primary reason for a total shoulder replacement. You might benefit from shoulder replacement surgery if you have shoulder pain that limits your daily activities, such as dressing or grooming, pain that interferes with sleep and nonsurgical treatments have not worked to relieve your pain and improve your function.

Shoulder replacement surgery may be performed as open or minimally invasive surgery, inpatient or outpatient. Shoulder replacement surgery is the third most common joint replacement surgery after hip and knee replacement.

Total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA), Partial shoulder replacement, and Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (RTSA) are safe and effective procedures to relieve pain and restore function so you can return to the life you love. Recovery from a total shoulder replacement requires your commitment to extensive post-operative rehabilitation to achieve the full benefits from this surgery.

Total shoulder replacement surgery is a procedure to replace the damaged or diseased parts of your shoulder joint with artificial parts, called implants. This surgery is also known as shoulder arthroplasty.

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball is at the top of your upper arm bone (humerus). It fits into a socket called the glenoid in your shoulder blade.

In total shoulder replacement surgery, the damaged ball (head of the humerus) is removed and replaced with a metal ball attached to a stem. The damaged socket (glenoid) is also removed and replaced with a metal socket. A plastic spacer is placed between the new metal ball and socket to allow for a smooth gliding motion.

However, not everyone is a candidate for total shoulder arthroplasty because they have severe rotator cuff dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis, a severe shoulder injury that fractures the upper arm bone or damages the rotator cuff, or other conditions that require a different approach. In these cases, reverse total shoulder arthroplasty may be the best options for you.

This approach is designed for patients who had a previous shoulder replacement that failed, and for patients with severe shoulder arthritis and massive rotator cuff tears.  These patients have severe disability, loss of normal mechanics, and are unable to raise the arm away from the side beyond ninety degrees.

The reverse technique does not rely on the rotator cuff to move the arm. Instead, the deltoid muscle is used to move the arm.  A reverse shoulder approach is the perfect solution when the damaged shoulder needs replacement, but there is not enough healthy tissue to stabilize the joint and move the arm.

This surgery replaces only the head of the arm bone to enable improved shoulder joint movement. The original socket is maintained. This is often used for young active patients and avoids complete removal and replacement of the humerus head.

The risks of shoulder replacement surgery are similar to the risks of any other major surgery. They include bleeding, infection, and blood clots. There is also a small risk that the new shoulder joint will not work properly.

Your orthopaedic specialist will review your medical history, discuss your symptoms, and consider you age and activity level to determine whether you are a good candidate for shoulder replacement surgery. They perform a physical examination and order x-rays and imaging studies to evaluate the bones and soft tissues. With all of this information, your orthopedic specialist will provide you with the information you need to make an informed choice about your treatment options.

Contact Providence Center for Orthopaedic Specialists at one of our locations, Mission Hills, Tarzana, West Hills, and Westlake Village to schedule a consultation to find out if you are a candidate for shoulder surgery. You will always be treated with respect and compassion.

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