The shoulder is the joint with the largest range of motion in the body, making it the most vulnerable. Whether your shoulder pain is caused by a degenerative disease, injury at work, or a sports accident, partial or full shoulder replacement surgery is an option that can bring your shoulder back to normal when other treatments haven’t worked.
You may be wondering, how do I know if I need a shoulder replacement? The first qualifying factor is pain. The most important and immediate goal of shoulder replacement surgery is pain relief for the patient. Due to wear and tear from rheumatism or osteoarthritis, disrupted shoulder cartilage can expose joints to bone-to-bone interactions. This can be extremely agonizing and is often corrected by simply replacing the entire joint.
Of course, not every painful case requires shoulder replacement. The second factor is
the need to restore movement.
The average age of people with shoulder replacement is about 70 years, and many people are well over that age. The artificial shoulder joint usually lasts at least ten years, often longer.
Please find out more about complete shoulder replacement surgery and whether it’s right for you!
Shoulder replacement types
There are different types of shoulder replacements. Your surgeon will discuss with you which procedure is best for your particular situation. It depends on the condition of the muscles around your shoulders, the stability of your shoulders, and the strength of your bones.
Following are the three main types of shoulder replacement procedures.
- Reverse shoulder replacement: This is the most commonly used shoulder replacement procedure. It gets its name because the ball’s position and socket in your joint are changed. A metal ball is attached to your blade where your socket used to be, and a new socket is installed on the top of your hand where the ball was before. New balls and sockets have rods that are attached to your bones with a special anchor.
- Total shoulder replacement: Total shoulder replacement is the second most common type of shoulder replacement procedure. When you have this type of surgery, your surgeon will replace the ball on the top of your upper arm with a new metal ball. You also replace the blade socket with a new socket. This substitute mimics the original structure of your shoulder.
- Partial shoulder replacement (hemiarthroplasty): If the shoulder is partially replaced, only the ball on the upper arm is replaced. The new metal ball then moves inside the existing socket.
What happens during a shoulder replacement?
Shoulder replacement is performed by an orthopaedic surgeon (a shoulder surgeon).
You will receive a shoulder replacement under general or local (regional) anaesthesia. General anaesthesia means that you will sleep during the operation. The local anaesthetic will completely block the pain in your shoulder and will keep you awake during the operation. You can undergo both types of anaesthesia to relieve pain after surgery. Your anaesthetist will talk with you about what type of anaesthesia is best for you. If you feel very anxious, you may be given sedatives and a local anaesthetic.
After the anaesthesia has worked, your surgeon will reach your shoulder joint by making an incision in the front or side of your shoulder.
After the procedure, the surgeon will close the incision with stitches or tweezers and cover the wound with a bandage.
When does the patient need shoulder replacement surgery?
Three common causes of shoulder arthroplasty
Arthritis of the shoulder joint: This degenerative disease occurs most often in patients over the age of 50 and causes stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint because the protective cartilage has weakened over the years. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication first. However, along with this, other non-surgical treatments are combined. If it doesn’t bring about relief from discomfort or increase mobility, it may be time to consider a full shoulder replacement seriously. Osteoarthritis is perhaps the most widely recognized reason patients undergo this surgery.
Fracture: In the event of a serious injury, the head (or ball) of the hand bone can be badly damaged beyond repair and must be replaced. Depending on the health of the collarbone (joint socket), the surgeon may recommend partial or complete shoulder replacement to replace the broken bone, stabilize the joint, and restore function.
Rotator Cuff tear: Rotator cuff tear occurs when the patient has an injury to one of the four muscles enclosing the humerus. These muscles are significant for keeping up the stability of the shoulder joint. If long-term cracks are not treated, arthritis can develop. Over time, the joints suffer from a lack of stability and results in arthritis. In such cases, shoulder replacement can be recommended.
Who is NOT a good candidate for a shoulder replacement?
You may not be a good candidate if:
- You can treat shoulder pain with drugs and exercise.
- You experience loss or paralysis of the deltoid muscles.
- You have an active infection.
- You have a progressive nervous system disorder.
Are you ready to take the step to relieve shoulder pain? We invite you to seek advice from one of our experienced shoulder surgeons Dr Chandra Shekar. B to determine if shoulder replacement surgery is suitable for you and your condition. For more information, please visit us here or call us at 9959588389.