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Shoulder Arthritis &
Replacement Surgery

How it Works

Certain shoulders may develop joint arthritis. When the word “arthritis” is mentioned, most people think of a joint “getting old.” To an orthopedic surgeon, arthritis is a very specific term – loss of cartilage. It is cartilage and the fluid within joints that gives a smooth, frictionless motion to a joint. When cartilage is lost, a joint becomes arthritic which causes “bone on bone” grinding. This usually progresses over time and can cause significant pain, stiffness, and disability. Hip and knee joint replacements are well known treatments for arthritic pain and when done with the proper specialist, modern shoulder replacement has been proven to be just as effective.



Diagnostic Tools
Most advanced cases of arthritis can be diagnosed with an X-ray evaluation of the shoulder. Sometimes, with rheumatoid or other types of inflammatory arthritis, special blood tests, or other evaluations are needed.

Non-Operative Treatment Options
Treatments for shoulder arthritis is dependent on severity of pain and dysfunction. Sometimes treatment by a rheumatologist can be useful. Physical therapy to improve flexibility and range of motion can sometimes help but can cause more pain if it is too aggressive.

When conservative treatment fails, shoulder replacement surgery can be helpful.

Surgical Treatment Options

Anatomic Total Shoulder Replacement
Anatomic total shoulder replacement, also known as total shoulder arthroplasty, is a surgical technique designed to alleviate pain and restore function in shoulders affected by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. It involves replacing the damaged or worn-out shoulder joint surfaces with prosthetic components that closely mimic the natural anatomy of the shoulder.

The procedure involves making an incision to access the shoulder joint. Then the damaged humeral head (the ball-shaped top of the upper arm bone) is carefully removed and replaced with a ball component. The socket (glenoid) is resurfaced with a plastic component to create a new smooth joint surface. The new components are precisely positioned and secured to ensure stability and optimal function.

Anatomic total shoulder replacement offers several benefits. By recreating the natural anatomy of the shoulder, patients regain a wide range of motion, alleviate pain, and improve overall shoulder function. It can enable patients to regain independence, participate in daily activities, and return to an active lifestyle.

Reverse Shoulder Replacement

Reverse shoulder replacement is a trustworthy treatment option for people with rotator cuff deficiency and severe socket bone loss. The rotator cuff is four muscles that connect the humerus to the scapula. These muscles provide a cuff around the humerus, positioning the arm and allowing rotation. A large rotator cuff tear causes these muscles to no longer function, thus, the shoulder becomes weak and painful. Often, patients will have trouble lifting their arm to comb their hair, reaching up to a shelf, or simply eating. Patients can return to daily activities by reversing the anatomy of the shoulder with a reverse shoulder replacement.
A reverse shoulder replacement replaces the ball of the humerus with a metal stem and a concave bowl (socket) component. On the glenoid (inside) side of the shoulder, a half metal ball is placed. This procedure reverses the geometry of the shoulder which means the rotator cuff is not needed to stabilize the shoulder for rotation.

When we perform total shoulder replacements in our center we have found that most patients regain functional shoulder movement, decrease their pain and improve their quality of life.