What is a shoulder replacement?
A shoulder replacement is a procedure that tries to eliminate the source of pain and dysfunction by replacing damaged parts of the shoulder joint with artificial components called prostheses. The most common reasons for a shoulder replacement surgery are osteoarthritis, rotator cuff tear arthropathy, avascular necrosis or rheumatoid arthritis. The procedure is meant to relieve your pain, improve your strength, increase your range of motion and enable you to use your shoulder and arm.
How does your shoulder work?
Similar to the hip joint, your shoulder is a large ball and socket joint. It can rotate through a greater range of motion than any other joint in your body. The shoulder joint is made up of bones, tendons, muscles and ligaments which hold the shoulder in place and allows for its movement. Bones of the shoulder joint include the Clavicle (collar bone), Scapula (large flat triangular bone called shoulder blade) and Humerus (upper arm bone).
Why is a shoulder replacement done?
Shoulder replacement surgery is an option given to patients who suffer from joint dysfunction. This is usually the result of osteoarthritis, rotator cuff tear arthropathy, avascular necrosis, or rheumatoid arthritis, or (rarely) for those who have sustained a severe fracture from a trauma or fall. Generally, all other modes of treatment are considered first, such as physical therapy and medications.
You may be a candidate for shoulder replacement surgery if you have the following symptoms:
- Your shoulder pain is so severe that you struggle with everyday activities such as washing, getting dressed and reaching into a cabinet.
- You have loss of motion in your shoulder.
- You have weakness in your shoulder.
- You have pain that’s so bad that it prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep.
- You’ve tried anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections and physical therapy with no relief.
- You have prior arthroscopic surgery, rotator cuff or fracture repair that failed to relieve your symptoms.
- What are the types of shoulder replacements?
- Your surgeon will have a conversation with you regarding what type of shoulder replacement you may need.