Though not a weight-bearing joint like the hip or knee, the shoulder can often be taken for granted during daily activities. Until it begins to cause pain, that is. Once a person develops pain in the shoulder, it typically can be an extremely uncomfortable condition and can affect many aspects of daily living, including sleep.
Any damage to the protective cartilage within the glenohumeral joint of the shoulder, as a result of injury or prolonged degeneration, can, over time, become severely debilitating. Total shoulder replacement surgery is a procedure that replaces damaged bone and cartilage with a prosthetic implant, and it can be a highly effective long-term treatment for people with significant shoulder joint degeneration.
As leading experts in the field of joint replacement and preservation, the orthopedic surgeons at the Joint Surgery Center of Excellence possess extensive training in the most advanced shoulder joint replacement techniques. Our team of shoulder surgeons is committed to providing comprehensive and individualized treatment plans for each patient, a feature that leads 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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Candidates for Total Shoulder Replacement
There are many different forms of shoulder replacement surgery, including reverse total shoulder replacement, partial shoulder replacement, and total shoulder replacement. Total shoulder replacement involves replacing the natural ball-and-socket structure in the shoulder with special prosthetic implants. This procedure is typically reserved for patients with severe joint damage. The long-term success of a total shoulder replacement is highly dependent on a patient’s commitment to physical therapy rehabilitation. Patients must also adhere to temporary post-operative movement restrictions designed to protect the integrity of the implant.
People with the following symptoms may be good candidates for total shoulder replacement:
- Severe shoulder pain that interferes with everyday activities, such as reaching up into a cabinet or getting dressed
- Loss of motion and/or significant weakness in the shoulder
- Moderate to severe osteoarthritis with intact rotator cuff tendons
- Failure to improve substantially with more conservative therapies such as rest, anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, or physical therapy
Preparing for Shoulder Replacement Surgery
Our surgeons work closely with each patient to review diagnostic findings and ensure that a shoulder replacement will produce the most effective outcome to alleviate chronic pain.
Well before any surgical procedures are considered, patients undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation and diagnostic testing to determine and confirm the extent of damage in the shoulder and to visualize the amount of joint space loss between bones. Our doctors will also review and make recommendations for any temporary home modifications that might facilitate a patient’s recovery process.
During the Procedure
Total shoulder replacement is performed as a traditional open surgery. Under general anesthesia, a 4 to 6-inch incision is made in the shoulder to provide complete access to the joint. The integrity of cartilage, bone, and support structures such as the rotator cuff will again be evaluated at this point to confirm the need for total replacement (as opposed to a partial replacement).
Next, the damaged joint surfaces are removed from the upper end of the humerus (upper arm bone) and within the glenoid (shoulder socket). A metal prosthesis, usually consisting of strong and inert metals, is then fixed into the humerus, while a specially crafted socket is fitted into the space of the glenoid. The implants are carefully designed to replicate the shape and size of your shoulder joint in an attempt to restore normal anatomy and movement of the shoulder. After the implant is secured, any other structural damages that need addressing will be repaired at that time. Finally, the incision is securely closed in layers.
Recovery from Total Shoulder Replacement
At the Joint Surgery Center of Excellence, total shoulder replacements can often be performed as an outpatient procedure at our state of the art facility in Los Angeles. The patient is closely monitored after the procedure, given pain-relieving medications, and secured in a shoulder immobilizer immediately after surgery.
Physical therapy rehabilitation typically begins a week after surgery and is comprehensive, lasting for several months until range-of-motion, and then strength, are restored. Most patients who undergo this definitive procedure can experience a dramatic reduction in joint pain as well as significant restoration of normal shoulder function.
Contact a Los Angeles Orthopedic Surgeon
Shoulder replacement is a highly technical procedure that should only be performed by an experienced orthopedic surgeon. The Joint Surgery Center of Excellence houses a team of highly skilled orthopedic surgeons that specialize in joint replacement surgery. Our shoulder surgeons are trained in the most advanced shoulder replacement procedures, and are leaders in the field of joint preservation. For more information on shoulder replacement or to schedule a consultation with one of our renowned orthopedic shoulder surgeons, please contact us at (888) 318-2842.
Next, read about reverse total shoulder replacement surgery.