Shoulder Replacement Surgery


If shoulder pain from arthritis interferes with your everyday life, and conservative treatment methods fail to relieve your symptoms, shoulder replacement surgery may be an option for you. Although not as common as hip or knee replacement procedures, shoulder replacements are just as successful in relieving pain and allowing patients to return to their everyday activities.

Anatomy of the Shoulder

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint--the ball-shaped head of the upper arm bone (humerus) fits into a socket in the shoulder blade. Articular cartilage lines the joint, protecting the bones and allowing for ease of movement. The synovial membrane makes a small amount of fluid to lubricate the joint and reduce friction.

For those with arthritis in the shoulder, the cartilage lining the joint wears away, eventually causing the bones to rub together. This can lead to pain and stiffness in the shoulder.

Candidates for Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Candidates for shoulder replacement surgery usually have severe shoulder pain that makes even everyday activities like getting dressed or reaching overhead difficult. Some patients may even feel pain while at rest, and some experience weakness in the shoulder and may lose range of motion.

If conservative treatment methods like anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and cortisone injections fail to relieve a patient’s symptoms, surgery may be recommended.

Shoulder Replacement Options

There are three different options for a shoulder replacement, depending on the patient’s individual condition. Shoulder replacement surgery involves replacing the damaged portions of the shoulder with prosthetics designed to recreate a healthy shoulder joint.

Total Shoulder Replacement

A total shoulder replacement is best for those who have arthritis that has damaged both the ball and the socket of the shoulder. In a total shoulder replacement, both the ball and the socket portions of the shoulder joint are replaced. The damaged ball at the end of the upper arm bone is removed and replaced with a metal ball prosthetic with a stem that is inserted into the bone. A plastic component is used to line the socket. The components are often held in place with bone cement.

Stemmed Hemiarthroplasty

If only the ball portion of the joint is damaged, and the socket cartilage is intact, a stemmed hemiarthroplasty may be recommended. With a stemmed hemiarthroplasty, only the head of the humerus is replaced. The implant used is metal and similar to the implant used in a total shoulder replacement. This method may also be used if a patient’s humerus (upper arm bone) is severely fractured.

Resurfacing Hemiarthroplasty

If the bone quality of the humerus (upper arm bone) is good, and the cartilage in the socket is still healthy, a resurfacing hemiarthroplasty may be recommended. This procedure uses a cap-like prosthesis for the ball portion of the joint, rather than the stemmed shoulder implant. This implant allows the surgeon to preserve more of the patient’s bone than would be allowed with the stemmed implant. This type of implant is also helpful for younger or more active patients because it because it reduces the risk of implant wear and loosening associated with a total shoulder replacement.

Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

A reverse total shoulder replacement may be recommended if the patient’s rotator cuff is completely torn, causing severe arm weakness, or if the patient previously had a shoulder replacement that failed. A conventional total shoulder replacement may not give these patients the pain relief and range of motion they need.

With a reverse total shoulder replacement, the positioning of the metal ball and socket implants is switched; a metal ball component is placed in the shoulder bone, while the plastic socket is attached to the upper arm bone. This placement of the implants allows the patient to use the deltoid muscle, rather than the rotator cuff, to lift the arm.

Recovery

It is important to follow all instructions given to you by your surgeon following shoulder arthroplasty for the best possible outcome. Patients spend an average of one night in the hospital and go home the day following surgery. You will be placed in a sling and will only perform passive range of motion exercises for the first 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, patients may discontinue use of the sling and increase use of the arm, resuming everyday activities such as dressing, grooming, and eating without assistance.

Shoulder Replacement Surgery in Beaumont, TX

Our board-certified, fellowship-trained specialists offer a wide variety of orthopedic procedures, including shoulder replacement surgery. Beaumont Bone and Joint Institute is with you every step of the way, from the start of your care to recovery. If you have any questions about shoulder replacement surgery, or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists for an evaluation, please contact our Beaumont office at (409) 838-0346 or our Port Arthur office at (409) 729-5633.