Shoulder Joint Replacement

A failing or painful shoulder joint can be the result of a number of conditions, including osteoarthritis, a torn rotator cuff or an injury. Initially, an orthopedic doctor will most likely try to treat a painful shoulder joint using conservative, non-surgical methods. If the condition is severe or a patient fails to benefit from conservative treatments, surgery will be needed to help relieve pain and restore functionality to the shoulder joint.

Pain and discomfort in the shoulder is commonly caused by arthritis, a degenerative disorder which could develop over time or as the result of an injury. Arthritis that occurs in the shoulder joint will cause the cartilage in the joint to wear and eventually the bones of the shoulder joint will rub, causing joint pain and further damage to the area.

What Happens During Shoulder Joint Replacement

Shoulder joint surgery is a complicated procedure. During surgery an orthopedic shoulder surgeon will replace the damaged bone in the ball (humeral head) and socket (glenoid) of the shoulder joint with a prosthetic (metal or plastic material).

Types Of Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Total Shoulder Replacement – During a total shoulder replacement procedure. The ball at the top of the humerus bone (humeral head) is removed and replaced with a metal ball, which has a stem that is inserted into the hollow portion of the humerus (arm bone). Damaged cartilage and tissue are removed. The shoulder socket is lined with a plastic surface or replaced so that the ball of the joint can move smoothly within the socket of the joint.

Reverse Shoulder Replacement – A reverse shoulder replacement may be done if a prior shoulder replacement procedure failed (which is not common) or if the patient has a torn rotator cuff. During this procedure, the anatomy of the joint is reversed. A metal ball is attached to the shoulder bones and the socket is attached to the humerus bone.

Partial Shoulder Replacement – A partial shoulder replacement only involves the replacement of the humeral head. The shoulder socket is left in its natural state. This procedure can not be done if the shoulder socket (glenoid) is damaged or if the rotator cuff has structural damage. A patient who has a healthy shoulder socket may also be a candidate for shoulder resurfacing surgery.

Recovering From Shoulder Replacement

A short hospital stay is to be expected since a shoulder replacement procedure is major surgery. Swelling and pain should also be expected after surgery. An orthopedic surgeon will prescribe pain medication and will recommend cold packs to reduce swelling in the shoulder joint.

Initially a patient will use a brace to restrict movement following surgery. Physical therapy can start 2 to 10 days after surgery and will continue to be required to restore shoulder joint functionality and strength. Physical therapy is also used to prevent stiffness in the joint. Recovery from a shoulder replacement procedure can take a number of weeks and the patient will need to keep their arm in a sling while they continue to recover.

Shoulder Joint Surgery At The CMD

Schedule an appointment at one of our centers in NY or NJ with a highly experienced orthopedic shoulder surgeons to have your shoulder diagnosed and evaluated. Most patients who do not have not severely injured the shoulder joint will benefit from conservative, non-surgical treatment methods.

If surgery is required to correct a shoulder disorder or injury, our team of shoulder surgeons use the most current surgical techniques to treat rotator cuff, shoulder joint disorders and injuries caused by trauma or a degenerative condition like arthritis.