Shoulder replacement is the surgery of choice for more than 50,000 Americans every year. And it’s no wonder: this joint replacement procedure can effectively relieve chronic shoulder pain and improve range of motion. Patient satisfaction rates are 95% after a shoulder replacement surgery.
If you also suffer from shoulder pain and it is limiting your ability to perform the activities you enjoy most, you may want to consider shoulder replacement surgery. However, not everyone can benefit from it. Your orthopedic surgeon can assess whether it’s right for you.
Shoulder replacement surgeries are either traditional or reverse. The procedure the doctor recommends will depend on your particular shoulder issues. Both types of surgeries will require that you undergo physical rehabilitation for at least a few months after surgery.
Traditional Shoulder Replacement
A traditional shoulder replacement procedure involves replacing the damaged part of the shoulder joint with prosthetics. Your orthopedic surgeon will surgically implant artificial parts for the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder. This means replacing the “socket” area of the shoulder blade and/or the “ball” portion at the top of the upper arm. Once in place, the prosthetics should seamlessly mimic the natural movements of the shoulder. A special cement is used to make the synthetic components stick.
This type of shoulder replacement procedure is usually recommended for those with a healthy rotator cuff (the “cap” of muscles and tendons that power shoulder and arm movements).
During recovery from this type of surgery, movement of the shoulder should be avoided to allow the joint to properly heal. You will be required to wear a sling for a period of time to limit movement of the affected shoulder.
Reverse Shoulder Replacement
This type of shoulder replacement is usually recommended for patients who have an irreparably damaged rotator cuff. In that case, even with prosthetics, movement of the arm would be impaired due to the inability of the muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff to do their job.
In a reverse procedure, the position of the “ball” and “socket” are reversed. Your surgeon will implant a prosthetic ball at the shoulder blade, and an artificial socket at the top of the upper arm.
This allows your body to bypass the faulty rotator cuff, instead relying on the deltoid muscles to power your arm.
During recovery from a reverse shoulder joint replacement, special exercises are recommended to help your body get used to the new arrangement. Patients who undergo a reverse procedure tend to recover faster than those who undergo the traditional shoulder replacement.
Orthopedic Surgeon in San Antonio, Texas
If you are suffering from chronic shoulder pain as a result of injury or wear and tear damage, make an appointment with one of our orthopedic surgeons at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine in South Texas. After a careful assessment of your symptoms and condition, we should be able to tell you if you are a good candidate for a shoulder joint replacement surgery. Call (210) 692-7400 or request an appointment now.