The shoulder is one of the most sophisticated and complicated joints in the body, offering a high degree of mobility but possessing an inherent lack of stability. Many people, at some point in their lives, come to experience chronic shoulder pain as a result of injury or wear and tear on the joint. When this pain is severe, interferes with activities of daily living, and has not responded to conservative therapies such as physical therapy, rest, or anti-inflammatory medication, shoulder replacement surgery can be considered definitive treatment. For eligible candidates, it can be the most effective treatment option available to relieve pain and restore function.
Shoulder replacement, or shoulder arthroplasty, is a procedure in which damaged parts of the bony shoulder girdle are replaced with specially made prosthetic implants. The Joint Surgery Center of Excellence offers a team of renowned orthopedic surgeons committed to providing comprehensive and compassionate care for every patient. Our surgeons possess extensive training in the most advanced shoulder replacement and preservation techniques, a feature that translates to better outcomes and exceptional patient satisfaction.
To schedule a consultation with a Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon, please contact us by calling (888) 318-2842.
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Anatomy of the Shoulder
The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that consists of three bones and numerous connective tissue elements such as tendons and ligaments, that each provide strength, stability and mobility in different ways. The humerus (upper arm bone) forms the “ball” of the joint, which fits into the “socket,” a part of the shoulder blade called the glenoid. This joint is called the glenohumeral joint, named after the bones that comprise it. The clavicle (collarbone) provides horizontal framework to the shoulder by forming a bridge to the sternum (chest bone), connecting the shoulder with the chest.
The surfaces of the bones in the shoulder are each protected at the places where they form joints by a smooth, cushioning tissue called articular cartilage. Additional ligaments and tendons, including the four forming the rotator cuff, attach to and support the shoulder to maintain stability of the joint. Wear and tear over the years, or injury to any of these structures, can destabilize the joint and lead to chronic shoulder pain.
What Conditions Does Shoulder Replacement Treat?
At the Joint Surgery Center of Excellence, our orthopedic surgeons have a strong history performing successful shoulder replacements. The most common condition which is treated with shoulder replacement surgery is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease. Patients with osteoarthritis can experience severe pain and stiffness in the shoulder that worsens over time as a result of worn-down cartilage and bone. Sometimes, the condition can get so severe that there is little or no cartilage left, and no space for the bones to move with each other. With each motion of the joint, bone rubs painfully against bone. The pain and dysfunction associated with this condition can be excruciating for some patients. As there is currently no way to “regrow” the entire surface of articulating cartilage in a joint, the best way to treat the pain of bone-against-bone interaction is to remove the damaged areas of bone, replacing them with smooth, prosthetic surfaces. Other shoulder conditions or injuries that might make someone a candidate for shoulder replacement include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Post-traumatic arthritis
- Rotator cuff tear arthropathy (large, irreparable rotator cuff tears + arthritis)
- Severe fractures
Types of Shoulder Replacement Surgery
The location, severity, and cause of joint degeneration are factors contributing to treatment options. Sometimes, the most effective treatment option when it comes to joint pain can simply be rest and activity modifications. However, in the cases of many people for whom the pain is just too great, or lowering activity levels is not an option – for people who lead active lives or have high-functioning jobs such as firefighters, surgery is often indicated to remove damaged bone or tissues to restore function and alleviate pain.
Based on a comprehensive medical evaluation, our doctors establish a patient-specific treatment plan that will provide patients with the best possible options to achieve relief from chronic shoulder pain. Our orthopedic surgeons are renowned experts in the most advanced shoulder replacement techniques and may offer arthroscopic surgery, or one of three different replacement procedures in the most severe cases:
- Total Shoulder Replacement (arthroplasty)
- Partial Shoulder Replacement (hemiarthroplasty)
- Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement
The long-term success of these procedures depends on the patient’s commitment to a physical rehabilitation program designed to protect the shoulder implant and gradually restore strength and mobility to the shoulder. Most patients who undergo shoulder replacement surgery with our surgeons experience significant pain relief and are able to return to most of their activities within months of surgery, once they have completed a proper physical therapy rehabilitation program.
In some cases, especially for younger patients, or those patients in whom the damage to the shoulder is not as severe as thought, shoulder arthroplasty or hemiarthroplasty may not be needed. In these cases, our surgeons are likely to recommend a less invasive procedure, shoulder arthroscopy, to help treat painful conditions in patients. Please refer to our shoulder surgery website for more information on arthroscopic shoulder surgery to treat degenerative joint disease of the shoulder.
Contact a Los Angeles Orthopedic Shoulder Surgeon
The Joint Surgery Center of Excellence houses a team of highly skilled orthopedic surgeons specializing in shoulder replacement surgery. Our expert shoulder surgeons are well-trained in the most advanced shoulder replacement procedures, and are leaders in the field of joint preservation. The unparalleled technical expertise of our surgeons, combined with our state-of-the-art outpatient facility in Los Angeles, both help to ensure the best results and optimal recovery for our patients.
For more information on shoulder replacement, or to schedule a consultation with one of our renowned orthopedic surgeons, please contact us at (888) 318-2842.’
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