The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. As people age, the cartilage can wear out, resulting in arthritis. Sometimes shoulder arthritis can develop for other reasons, such as rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis, or following a trauma. Regardless, this may result in pain and limited motion, which can greatly impact an individual’s quality of life. If non-surgical treatments do not provide enough pain relief, the joint can be replaced surgically. A total shoulder replacement involves replacing the damaged parts of the shoulder joint with a specialized prosthesis made of durable artificial materials.
There are a number of shoulder replacement systems available, including conventional, reverse, and revision. A conventional shoulder replacement is often used when surrounding muscles and tendons are intact and healthy. A reverse total shoulder replacement is often selected for patients with chronic rotator cuff tears, something common in older patients with complex fractures and concurrent arthritis. Revision shoulder systems, which allow for more complicated reconstruction, are utilized in the case of a failed prior shoulder replacement.
Total shoulder replacement generally requires a short hospital stay. Physical therapy is typically needed to help patients regain range of motion and strength. The goal of total shoulder replacement is to relieve pain, improve function, and allow patients to return to their daily activities.