What is a Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement?
Arthritis or injury to the shoulder can cause chronic, debilitating pain. When there is soft tissue damage involving the rotator cuff, it may be extremely painful to lift the arm above the shoulder to perform such daily activities as bathing or dressing. Sometimes this damage is too severe to be repaired by a traditional total shoulder replacement. But that doesn’t mean you need to live with the pain. The surgeons at Active Orthopedics & Sports Medicine routinely an alternative procedure called REVERSE TOTAL SHOULDER REPLACEMENT. It is a safe an effective way to relieve pain and restore function and mobility to those suffering from severe shoulder damage.
The shoulder is comprised of three bones: humerus (upper arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle (collarbone). The head of the humerus fits into a shallow socket in the scapula to create a ball and socket joint. The surface where the three bones touch are covered with cartilage, which protects them and enables them to easily move. A thin tissue covers the remaining surfaces of the joint. Muscles and tendons surround the shoulder, providing it stability and support.
In a shoulder joint replacement procedure, the surgeon makes an incision between the deltoid and the pectoralis muscles on the front of the shoulder. The muscles are separated to access the bones. Any adhesions are released, and bone spurs and damaged areas are removed. The surface of the humerus head is replaced with a metal ball with a stem that is inserted inside the humerus, and a crafted socket is fit into the scapula. Any other structure damage identified will then be repaired.
Pain immediately after surgery is to be expected, but can be managed with medications. Your surgeon will help plan a rehabilitation program, which will be key to surgical success. You will be taught exercises to control stiffness and swelling. Typically, you will not be able to put weight on your arm or push with your hand for about 6 weeks after surgery. Upon recovery, you should experience an improved quality of life – less pain, better function, and improved strength and motion – and be able to return to your regular routines. You may want to avoid activities and contact sports with a major risk of falling or heavy lifting, which can increase the risk of the replacement components loosening or breaking.