Shoulder replacement involves replacing the ball and socket of the shoulder joint with artificial parts. But traditional shoulder replacement surgery isn’t the right choice for all people with shoulder pain. For patients that have a severely damaged rotator cuff, a reverse shoulder replacement may be a better option.
A reverse shoulder replacement swaps the position of the socket and the ball – putting the socket at the top of your upper arm bone, and the ball where your shoulder socket is positioned now.
A reverse shoulder replacement is a good choice for people with a large rotator cuff tear, because the muscles that control the shoulder often are non-functional in a patient with this sort of damage. With a reverse shoulder replacement, the deltoid muscle will now be responsible for positioning the arm, rather than the rotator cuff.
In this first six weeks after your reverse shoulder replacement surgery, it’s important to stick to your doctor’s recommendations for medication, rest, and exercise. Avoid positions that put undue stress on your healing shoulder joint, such as holding your arm straight out in front of you or reaching behind your back. Also, take care not to lift anything more than 5 pounds with your arm, including pushing yourself up off of the bed or couch.
After the initial healing period, most patients are very happy with the results of their reverse shoulder replacement surgery, as it restores a great percentage of the strength and range of motion of their shoulder. Being able to finally reach above the head is a huge bonus for patients who undergo reverse shoulder replacement surgery.
However, there are some lasting limitations after reverse shoulder replacement surgery. Lifting heavy weight is not recommended, as the muscle strength in the shoulder is reduced. Sports performance is also negatively impacted, so you may need to relearn how to play your favorite sports, such as baseball, gold, and tennis, with your new shoulder.
After your surgery, you will do at-home reverse shoulder replacement rehab exercises to help you gain strength, flexibility, and range of motion. It’s important to go slow with these exercises and build intensity slowly so you don’t re-injure your shoulder.
Schedule your consult today. The shoulder specialists at Tennessee Orthopaedic Clinics are here to help you regain your range of motion so you can get back to your healthy, active life.