Your shoulder is a complex joint composed of bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles that connect your arm to your torso. Due to the region’s complexity, there are all sorts of issues that can arise in this area. If shoulder pain prevents you from completing daily activities, you may be considering a shoulder replacement to relieve your pain and increase joint mobility. Dr Dewan is proud to offer shoulder replacement surgery for patients with shoulder pain.
What is A Shoulder Replacement?
Your shoulder is a large ball and socket joint. The area where the bones touch is covered with cartilage to allow for proper shock absorption and enables them to glide easily while the muscles and tendons work to keep the joint stable and provide support. A layer of thin membrane covers the surface of the joint to eliminate friction.
If your shoulder joint becomes damaged due to trauma or as a result of an underlying medical condition, you may begin to experience pain and dysfunction in the joint. Shoulder replacement is performed to remove pain, increase range of motion, and restore mobility to the shoulder by replacing the damaged joint with artificial implants.
When Should I Consider Shoulder Replacement?
You may need a shoulder replacement if you suffer from the following conditions. These conditions can damage your shoulder joint and cause severe pain and limited mobility:
- Inflammatory conditions
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Rotator cuff tears
- Severe fracture from trauma
Surgery should only be recommended when pain is severe and when you have found little to no significant relief from conservative treatment options such as physical therapy, cortisone injections, and medication.
Types of Shoulder Replacements
Depending on the severity of joint damage you have, your doctor may recommend one of the following shoulder replacement treatment options:
- Anatomic Total Shoulder Replacement – In this type of procedure, both the ball and socket parts of the joint are replaced with artificial implants.
- Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement – With a reverse shoulder replacement, the implants are reversed. The ball is attached to the shoulder blade while the socket is attached to the upper arm bone. This option is commonly recommended to patients who suffer from rotator cuff tears.
- Partial Shoulder Replacement – During a partial shoulder replacement, only the ball of the joint is replaced.
During your consultation, you may have to complete several imaging tests to determine the degree of damage. After a thorough physical examination and review of your symptoms and medical history, we can discuss which procedure is right for you.
Several weeks before your procedure you may need to undergo several types of tests to ensure you are cleared for surgery. You may also be asked to refrain from using certain medications until you are in recovery.
Before your surgery, anesthesia will be administered for patient comfort. During your procedure, the damaged portions of your shoulder joint will be replaced. In shoulder replacements, the implants are often a ball made of medical-grade stainless steel while the joint socket is made of a smooth polyethylene cup.
Although rare, risks associated with shoulder replacement surgery include dislocation, implant loosening, nerve damage, blood clots, and infection.
Recovery & Results
After your surgery, x-rays will be taken to ensure the implants are in the proper position. Your arm will then be placed in a sling to limit mobility. Pain control and reducing your risk of infection are very important after your surgery so please follow your doctor’s recovery instructions. We highly recommend arranging for someone to care for you during the first few weeks of your recovery as you will have limited mobility for at least a month and be unable to lift any items heavier than a pound.
Physical therapy often begins in the days following your surgery. It will begin with moving the fingers, wrists, and elbow and progress over the next few weeks to help restore muscle strength and range of motion.
In many cases, shoulder replacement is successful in treating shoulder pain as many patients report feeling significantly less pain or none at all in addition to a greater range of motion and muscle strength. Studies show that modern shoulder replacements can last a minimum of 15 years.
If you are experiencing shoulder pain and seeking relief, don’t hesitate to come in for a consultation. For more information on shoulder replacement and our services or to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Dewan today at (281) 690-4678.