Exploring Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Health Articles

Apr 05, 2021

Patients who suffer from painful and limiting shoulder arthritis may be candidates for a procedure called a total shoulder replacement, also called a total shoulder arthroplasty. A total shoulder replacement is successful in returning the overwhelming majority of patients back to a pain-free and mobile lifestyle; most patients can even return to exercising and participating in active hobbies such as tennis and golf, among others.

When the smooth surfaces or cartilage of the shoulder degenerate, the ability of the joint to comfortably glide and move decreases and becomes more painful. When those surfaces completely disintegrate, movement can become very painful and cause further damage to the joint, making a total shoulder replacement an effective and valuable treatment option.

Diagnosing Shoulder Arthritis

Painful and debilitating shoulder arthritis can be diagnosed with a physical exam and diagnostic testing, namely an x-ray. By viewing x-rays, surgeons can visualize the extent of arthritis, often displaying as a loss of joint space.

Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Total shoulder replacement surgery is effective in treating both osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis. During this procedure - which can be performed in the outpatient setting by applying minimally evasive, muscle-sparing techniques - affected and arthritic parts of the shoulder joint are removed and replaced by an anatomically correct artificial implant, allowing for natural and anatomical motion.

Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

When there is insufficient soft tissue – such as a damaged rotator cuff – a traditional total shoulder replacement may not be possible. Instead, a reverse total shoulder, during which the position of the ball and socket are switched, may be indicated. Following this procedure, the movement of the shoulder is dependent on the deltoid muscle instead of the rotator cuff tendon, allowing patients with rotator cuff injuries who also suffer from shoulder arthritis to regain some pain-free motion.

Following either procedure, patients will undergo physical therapy under the guidance of a licensed physical therapist to achieve desirable and pain-free range of motion.

To find out more about the total shoulder replacement procedure, book your appointment today.

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