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What is a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty? What are the expected results?

There are two major bones in your shoulder joint: the humerus (the upper arm bone) and the scapula (shoulder blade). As the upper arm moves inside the shoulder blade, its rounded end rests inside a shallow socket. This is the reason why you usually have a wide range of motion in your shoulder. The joint stays in position as it is supported and surrounded by cartilage, tendons, and ligaments and also helps the joint move smoothly.

Reverse total shoulder replacement surgery is entirely different from standard shoulder replacement surgery. In this procedure, the shoulder anatomy is altered, the ball and socket of the shoulder joint are reversed and replaced with an implant and prosthetics. So that the ball is attached to the shoulder blade and the socket to the top of the arm bone. 

After a reverse total shoulder replacement surgery

Your shoulder surgeon can provide you with information regarding what to expect following surgery. Generally, you can expect:

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  • Numbness in the operated arm due to the anaesthesia may last for a few hours. Additionally, your hands and fingers will likely be immobile.
  • Pain – Medications are prescribed to relieve your pain.
  • A follow-up X-ray will be recommended to ensure the surgery was successful.
  • A sling is likely to be worn for a few weeks after surgery.
  • While you are in the hospital, you will begin physical therapy exercises.
  • After you have been able to cope with it, you should have a regular diet.
  • A hospital stay of 2 to 3 days may be required.

After surgery, you will experience some pain while healing. But the original shoulder pain reduces.

Please follow all the instructions given by your doctors regarding shoulder care and wound care. It might be necessary to continue icing the shoulder and to undergo physical therapy. A small amount of drainage from the wound is expected. Contact your surgeon if the surgical area continues to bleed and swell or if you have other symptoms like fever or chills.

Expected results of reverse total shoulder arthroplasty

Though reverse total shoulder replacement is the newest procedure, the results are very promising. Studies have shown that reverse shoulder arthroplasty has an 85% success rate. This is measured in how many patients can return to one or more sports within five months post-surgery. 

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  • This surgery reduces shoulder pain in 90 out of 100 cases
  • A more comprehensive range of motion in the upper arm
  • Most people are capable of raising their hand above their head.
  • Increases the stability and reduces the dislocation problems 
  • Must be able to do daily activities and play some sports
  • Don’t lift heavy objects
  • Many people are only able to access their beltlines or back pockets.
  • There will be a slight increase in the length of your arm.

During recovery, your physician will let you know how soon you can use your hand fully again. Your wrists and hands should be able to function quickly after your surgery. It takes several weeks to use your shoulder, and most patients can resume normal activities within a few weeks.

Don’t miss your follow-up appointments with your doctor. You’ll be able to achieve your desired outcome if you stay in contact with your physician. The prosthetic joints last several years before they require replacement. To know more about reverse shoulder replacement, contact Dr Chandra Sekhar, one of the best shoulder surgeons in Hyderabad. He has more than 15 years of experience in performing various shoulder surgeries. 

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