Regain your range of movement and reduce pain with a total shoulder replacement surgery
Had to give up your favorite activities like tennis, golf or swimming because of a painful shoulder? A total shoulder replacement is a highly successful procedure that can restore your range of motion, increase strength, and reduce or eliminate pain in your shoulder.
Total shoulder replacement surgery involves removing damaged portions of the shoulder joint and replacing them with artificial implants.
Total shoulder replacement is commonly used to treat the pain and stiffness that comes from end-stage arthritis of the shoulder. In a healthy shoulder, the smooth cartilage that covers the parts of the shoulder joint allows the bones to glide smoothly against each other during movement. Arthritis of the shoulder causes the smooth cartilage that covers the bones of the shoulder joint to deteriorate, leading to bone-on-bone contact. This scraping together of the bones causes painful friction, which further damages the touching surfaces.
This painful condition is progressive, and without a total shoulder replacement, long-term, increasing pain and decreasing range of motion is the result. Total shoulder replacement stops this progressive process, restores range of movement, and eliminates pain caused by bone-on-bone contact.
Only you and your doctor can make that decision, but in general, if your arthritis shoulder pain isn’t well controlled by other methods, shoulder surgery may be the right option.
If your shoulder pain progresses into feeling like grating or grinding, that most likely means that the cartilage in your shoulder has worn down to the point that it will need to be replaced for you to find relief and regain your range of motion.
With total shoulder replacement surgery, the damaged end of your humerus will be replaced with a metal ball, and the socket of the shoulder joint (called the glenoid cavity) is replaced with a smooth plastic cup. This metal-to-plastic contact is a well-documented, much-used and successful replacement for the joint tissues in the shoulder.
In a healthy shoulder, the ball of the shoulder rests against the socket, not deep within it as seen in the hip joint. Because the shoulder joint is relatively shallow, the ball relies on tendons to hold it in place and move it as needed.
In a reverse shoulder replacement, the positions of the ball and socket are reversed – with the ball attached to the shoulder and the cup attached to the end of the humerus. The purpose for this backwards design is that it is quite a bit more stable for people who do not have the soft tissue to support a traditional shoulder replacement. The reverse shoulder replacement does not need the tendons to hold the shoulder in place. Instead, it replies on the deltoid muscle.
A reverse shoulder replacement is commonly performed on patients with severe tear of the rotator cuff or with badly damaged tendons.
After total shoulder replacement surgery, you’ll be sent home with your arm in a removable sling. Most patients notice right away that there is no more grinding in their shoulder joint and arthritis pain is gone, though pain from the surgery itself is still present at the outset. You will be sent home with pain medication to help you feel comfortable as you heal.
You’ll be able to use your hand and wrist right away, and you’ll gradually begin to move the arm itself in non-weight bearing movements. The following milestones are “averages.” Your recovery schedule may vary from this list.
6 weeks – You’ll be able to move the entire arm for light activity.
8 weeks – You’ll enjoy movement of your arm without restriction, but will experience some weakness and lack of range of motion.
3 months – You’ll be back to about 1/2 your normal range of motion with slight weakness.
6 months – You should be pain free and have achieved 2/3 of your normal range of motion.
12 months – 95% of all shoulder replacement patients report being completely pain free at one year.
The artificial replacement parts of your new shoulder are susceptible to wear. Therefore, it is generally advised that anyone who has undergone total shoulder replacement surgery not lift anything that weighs more than about 40-50 pounds.
This can be concerning for people who love to hit the gym. The limit of weight does not mean the limit to exercise, however. Many patients find that after shoulder surgery, doing more reps at a lower weight keeps them in shape while still preserving the integrity of their shoulder replacement.
Total shoulder replacement can finally help you enjoy your active life again. Call us today to schedule a consult.