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Shoulder Joint Replacement

Although shoulder joint replacement is not a very common procedure—performed less often than hip or knee replacement surgery—it can be used to treat those experiencing osteoarthritis, arthritis after injury, rheumatoid arthritis, osteonecrosis, severe fracture, avascular necrosis, and other conditions affecting the shoulder joint. These chronic conditions can lead to severe pain and mobility issues over time, requiring treatment for pain relief and to restore function.

Our board-certified orthopaedic surgeons utilize the most advanced techniques available, including total joint replacement and reverse total shoulder replacement, to enhance the quality, safety, and results of each procedure. Every treatment plan is customized, so that each individual can receive the optimal care. Talk to us today to learn more.

Do I Need Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Patients who may need shoulder joint replacement often have a loss of cartilage and deterioration in the mechanical abilities of the joint, ultimately causing pain and even stiffness, as well as impaired function and mobility. They may also be experiencing a grinding or grating sound when moving the shoulder. In the event the concern is less severe, non-surgical treatments can be used to alleviate discomfort and restore function.

What Does the Shoulder Replacement Evaluation Involve?

To determine the most appropriate and least invasive treatment option for your needs, your orthopaedic surgeon will perform a thorough evaluation to understand the extent of your shoulder damage. This process will involve a review of your medical history, a physical examination to assess your shoulder mobility and strength, X-rays to view the damage around the joint, and potential other tests like an MRI or bone scan. Based on the results of your evaluation, your surgeon will discuss whether a non-surgical option is likely to provide optimal improvement, or if surgical intervention may be necessary.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Shoulder Arthritis

Non-surgical treatments for shoulder joint arthritis include medication, rest, and exercise. Physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication can also help in some cases. In many instances, non-surgical approaches can prove very beneficial for individuals with shoulder discomfort, and our skilled medical team is dedicated to using the least invasive methods possible to help you achieve greater comfort and function. 

If non-invasive techniques are ineffective after a period of trying, more advanced methods, including surgery, may be recommended for you. We will discuss all your options during the initial consultation, where you are also encouraged to ask questions and voice any concerns you may have.

What Are the Types of Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Surgical treatments to replace the shoulder joint vary according to the severity of the condition and the individual’s needs. The ideal technique for your needs and goals will be determined after careful evaluation and discussion with you.

Total Shoulder Joint Replacement

Total replacement involves the insertion of an artificial ball-and-socket mechanism to replace the arthritic joint surfaces. However, some patients may require less invasive surgery to improve mobility and lessen pain. 

Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

Another option that may be suitable for certain people is a reverse total shoulder replacement, where the ball mechanism is placed in the shoulder capsule and the socket is located on the end of the humerus (upper arm bone).

How Long Is the Recovery from Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Minimally invasive techniques have helped to reduce downtime following shoulder replacement surgery, allowing you to return home and to normal activity sooner than ever. For an initial period of about four-to-six weeks after surgery you will require the use of an arm sling. While some discomfort is to be expected, we will provide medication to manage your pain. 

Physical therapy is also an important part of your after-care, and we will detail the exercises that can help you restore function and mobility. Shoulder joint replacement surgery is known to be extremely effective at helping patients increase range of motion and significantly minimize or eliminate pain in the shoulder.

How Long Does a Shoulder Replacement Last?

The majority of patients who undergo shoulder replacement surgery can expect their new joint to last for at least 10 to 15 years. At this point the mechanism often becomes worn and starts to loosen. To restore the mobility and function of the artificial joint, your surgeon may recommend revision surgery to replace the prostheses. However, since most shoulder replacement patients are older and have fewer physical demands than younger individuals, revision shoulder replacement surgery is rarely needed. It is common for a shoulder replacement to last the rest of one’s lifetime for these patients. 

To determine which type of shoulder treatment can best alleviate your discomfort, please contact our practice to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced orthopaedic surgeons.