Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Shoulder replacement surgery is a procedure performed to replace the damaged or diseased parts of the shoulder joint with artificial components. The surgery aims to relieve pain, improve joint function, and enhance the overall quality of life for patients. Learn more about shoulder replacement surgery from our expert physicians at Resurgens.

What Is a Shoulder Replacement?

Shoulder replacement surgery is a medical procedure designed to alleviate pain and restore proper function to the shoulder joint. By replacing damaged or deteriorated parts of the shoulder joint with prostheses, this surgery aims to eliminate the source of pain and dysfunction, and help individuals regain mobility and improve their quality of life.

Anatomic Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

Anatomic total shoulder arthroplasty, also known as total shoulder replacement, is a surgical procedure that involves replacing the damaged or diseased parts of the shoulder joint with artificial components. The procedure aims to restore joint function and alleviate pain caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or severe fractures by replicating the natural anatomy of the shoulder joint.

Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

Reverse total shoulder replacement is an alternative to traditional total shoulder replacement, offering a solution for individuals with severe shoulder conditions. This procedure addresses not only the damaged joint components but also the rotator cuff. By reversing the ball and cup components of the shoulder joint, the procedure empowers the shoulder muscles to secure the joint, enabling improved arm functionality and alleviating pain. While the level of pain relief depends on the severity of the underlying diagnosis, this surgery provides a viable option for individuals with arthritis or torn rotator cuffs. By utilizing different muscle groups, reverse total shoulder replacement offers a transformative approach to restoring functionality and relieving pain.

Why Is Shoulder Replacement Surgery Performed?

Total shoulder replacement addresses the debilitating effects of severe osteoarthritis or direct injuries that significantly impair shoulder mobility and function. With age, the cartilage between joints deteriorates, causing bone-on-bone contact and intense discomfort. By replacing the worn-out ball and socket joint with artificial components, the procedure eliminates the excruciating sensation of bone rubbing against bone, providing much-needed pain relief.

Individuals who meet the criteria for extreme shoulder arthritis often experience frequent pain flare-ups during joint use or overhead movements, and severe pain that disrupts sleep and remains unrelieved despite conservative treatments such as NSAIDs, physical therapy, steroid injections, or arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Total shoulder replacement offers a transformative solution to alleviate pain, improve joint function, and enhance overall quality of life for those suffering from debilitating shoulder conditions.

 How To Prepare For Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Preparing for shoulder replacement surgery requires careful attention to your medications, lifestyle choices, and home environment. Before the procedure, inform your doctor about all medications and supplements you are taking to ensure their safety during surgery and recovery. Two weeks prior, your doctor will advise avoiding NSAIDs, aspirin, and steroids that could suppress the immune system. Quitting tobacco and alcohol is crucial, as nicotine affects healing and alcohol increases the risks of anesthesia. If you fall ill, promptly notify your doctor.

Make necessary preparations at home for a smooth recovery. Seek assistance from a loved one or caregiver for support. Arrange transportation, as you won't be able to drive after the surgery. Reorganize commonly used items for easy reach, and eliminate potential tripping hazards. Have cold packs and heating pads ready for swelling and pain management, and ensure an ample supply of clean sponges and washcloths since showering will be restricted for a week.

On the day of surgery, take a thorough shower, including washing your hair, as it may be challenging to do so during recovery. Dress in a button-up shirt and comfortable, loose clothing for easy removal and wear at the hospital. Expect to be admitted on the same day. You will meet an anesthesiologist and discuss the anesthesia type: general (being asleep throughout), regional (awake but numb around the surgical area), or a combination of both.

What Happens During Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Anatomic total shoulder arthroplasty involves several key steps. Upon admission to the facility, your vital signs are checked and monitored. Once anesthesia is administered and you are in a twilight state, your surgeon makes an incision in a nerve-sparing area to access the shoulder joint. The muscles obstructing the rotator cuff are carefully cut through to provide access to the shoulder ball and socket. Any arthritic-damaged joint components are removed, creating space for inserting the artificial socket.

Reverse total shoulder replacement involves several steps. After anesthesia is administered, the skin is cleaned and prepared, the surgeon makes an incision in the shoulder. The shoulder replacement consists of two components. The first component involves removing and hollowing out the top part of the humerus (upper arm bone). A metal socket is inserted into the hollowed humerus and secured using bone cement. Additionally, a socket cup is attached to the top of the new implant. The second component focuses on the glenoid (shoulder socket). The glenoid is reshaped to enhance stability, and a ball is implanted. Once both components are in place, the ball and socket cup are connected, creating the new shoulder joint.

These surgeries typically last around 2 hours and are performed under general or regional anesthesia. Following the procedure, the incision is closed, bandaged, and the arm is placed in a sling.

Are There Risks Associated With Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Shoulder replacement surgery, like any medical procedure, carries certain risks. Some possible complications associated with reverse shoulder replacement surgery include bleeding, nerve damage, infection, wear or deterioration of the replaced joint, loosening of the replaced joint, dislocation or disconnection of the replaced joint, and contact between the humerus and the shoulder blade.

Mechanical complications are more common in reverse shoulder replacement than in regular shoulder replacement. In many cases, non-surgical measures such as resetting the arm and immobilization can address these issues. However, surgery may be required if the joint continues dislocating or disconnecting. It is important to consult with your doctor for a comprehensive understanding of the potential risks and side effects specific to your situation.

Post Shoulder Replacement Surgery & Recovery 

Following surgery, you will receive a few doses of antibiotics to prevent infection, along with pain medication. Please use caution with these substances as they can be habit-forming. These are outpatient procedures, so you can return home the same day of the surgery.

During your recovery at home, it is important to have a family member, friend, or caregiver available to assist you with tasks such as dressing, bathing, cooking, and laundry. Within the first week of recovery, you should be able to manage activities like dressing, bathing, and eating.

Throughout your recovery, diligently engage in the physical therapy your doctor prescribes. Avoid placing excessive strain on your arm, such as positioning it behind your back or out to the side, for at least six weeks after the procedure. Refrain from lifting anything heavier than five pounds during this time, and avoid forceful movements like pushing yourself out of chairs or beds, as they can impede the healing process. Consult your doctor for guidance on when it is appropriate to resume normal activities.

Schedule an appointment with the shoulder experts at Resurgens Orthopaedics now!

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