Although total shoulder replacement surgery is much less common than other joint replacements — about 5% the rate of hip and knee surgery, for example — it’s very much a viable procedure that effectively treats shoulder pain caused by damage from trauma or arthritis. The surgeons of Methodist Physician Group Orthopedic and Spine Center in Merrillville, Indiana, can restore your shoulder’s range of motion while relieving pain when more conservative treatments fail. Call or click today to book a consultation.
Your shoulder is a complex joint with an extensive range of motion, enabling you to do things such as throwing a baseball and kneading bread dough. Over time, wear and tear takes a toll on your shoulder, which may be aggravated by injury or arthritis. As the protective tissue within your shoulder ages, the joint is no longer cushioned as effectively as it once was, which may create pain through nerve compression or bone-on-bone contact.
You’re a strong candidate for total shoulder replacement if you’re suffering from severe pain that interferes with your ability to perform daily living activities, such as dressing, washing, and reaching into cupboards. Even when you’re resting, you’re likely to feel some discomfort and pain that may prevent you from sleeping well.
Pain typically stems from deterioration of the joint surfaces inside your shoulder. As cartilage wears, there’s less space for movement within the joint, so your bones may no longer move as freely as they once did, or the reduced space may compress nerves.
Total shoulder replacement creates new rotating joint surfaces within your arm. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint, with your upper arm bone — the humerus — forming the ball and the shoulder bone — the scapula — forming the socket, with aid from the collar bone to hold the joint together.
During surgery, your doctor typically replaces the worn tissue and bone at the top of your humerus with a prosthetic ball attached to long, tapered rod that fuses with the bone in your arm. A matching socket replaces tissue and bone on the humerus, creating an artificial socket with compatible, friction-free materials that restore range of motion and prevent nerve compression.
Total shoulder replacement is an open surgical technique, so you usually have a short stay in hospital to monitor your early recovery. Your surgical team typically uses general anesthesia, so you’re asleep during the procedure itself.
You receive intravenous antibiotics usually for a day after the surgery to prevent infection, and you may have other medications for pain and blood clot prevention. You begin physical therapy right away, as this is an important part of the healing process, and you receive instruction for continued home exercise. You can begin more extensive strength training in about three months.