Shoulder Replacement Surgery Options
Orthopedic Surgeons in Huntsville and Athens, AL
The shoulder is a ball-and-socket system that consists of the humerus (upper arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade) and clavicle (collarbone.) These bones are connected by tendons and covered with articular cartilage which helps separate the bones and allows them to move more easily. In patients with severe shoulder pain and limited range of motion, medication and physical therapy are recommended as a first step. If these treatments don’t provide relief or improve the patient’s range of motion, shoulder replacement surgery may be recommended.
Total Shoulder Replacement
A total shoulder replacement is performed on patients who have an extensive amount of damage to their articular cartilage. This procedure removes the damage cartilage and replaces it with durable prosthetic parts. This procedure is performed in 3 steps:
- The humerus head is removed and replaced: once the “ball” section of the upper arm bone is removed, a metal stem is attached.
- A round metal ball is attached to the metal stem: a smooth metal ball is placed on top of the newly inserted metal stem.
- Cartilage is removed from the arm socket: the damaged cartilage is removed from the socket and replaced by a smooth artificial socket.
In cases where the cartilage in the socket is in good condition, the surgeon may choose to perform a stemmed hemiarthroplasty. During this procedure, the first two steps of a total shoulder replacement are performed. The ball of the humerus is removed and replaced with a metal stem and prosthetic metal ball that works in tandem with the intact shoulder socket and cartilage.
In order to preserve the humerus bone mass, a resurfacing hemiarthroplasty replaces the humerus head with a cap-shaped prosthesis without the use of a metal stem. This procedure is performed if the humerus is in strong shape and the cartilage in the shoulder socket is healthy. A resurfacing hemiarthroplasty can be converted into a total shoulder replacement in the future if necessary.
Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement
A reverse total shoulder replacement is performed on patients who have completely torn their rotator cuff or those who have severe arthritis with a rotator cuff tear or weakness. In a reverse total shoulder replacement, the socket and metal ball are switched. The prosthetic ball is placed in the existing shoulder socket and the plastic socket prosthesis is attached to the top of the humerus. This allows the patient to lift their arm using their deltoid muscle instead of the weakened or torn rotator cuff.