Shoulder

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Shoulder Replacement

Severe shoulder conditions with persistent symptoms that have not responded to conservative treatments may benefit from shoulder replacement surgery. Shoulder replacement surgery replaces the damaged joint with an artificial one that allows patients to enjoy painless motion and resume their regular activities.

Shoulder replacement surgery is often performed to treat conditions such as:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Rotator Cuff Tears
  • Osteonecrosis

Patients with severe cases of these conditions often experience pain, limited range of motion, stiffness, swelling and more. These symptoms can be effectively relieved by replacing the damaged bone and cartilage with a metal and plastic implant. Similar to the hip, the shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that can be significantly improved with joint replacement surgery.

Shoulder replacement surgery takes about two hours to perform and is usually done under general anesthesia. Patients may be required to stay in the hospital for one to two days and will need physical therapy in order to restore function to the joint after surgery. Most patients are able to return to all of their regular activities after two to three months.

While shoulder replacement surgery has been performed successfully for many years, there are certain risks involved with any surgical procedure. Some of these risks may include infection, blood clots, nerve injury, instability and loosening of the implant. These risks are considered rare, and most patients experience symptom relief and improved range of motion after this procedure.

Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

Reverse total shoulder replacement is a surgical intervention that aims to repair a condition known as rotator cuff tear arthropathy. This is different than total shoulder replacement because it switches the formation of the glenoid-humeral joint. Naturally, the “ball” of the joint exists as the terminal end of the humerus, but after this procedure the glenoid will be changed into a spherical object that the humerus head can articulate around. This allows the deltoid muscle to lift the arm instead of the torn rotator cuff.

Although this is a very effective method for relieving pain at the shoulder joint, it is normally the last option considered. It is still an invasive surgery that resurfaces the bones, which can be very risky, especially in patients most likely to require this surgery. The bones of elderly individuals are continually weakening as they age, so it is important for doctors to take this into account when determining if the surgery is worthwhile.

Hemiarthroplasty

Hemiarthroplasty is a surgical procedure that replaces one half of the shoulder joint with a prosthetic while leaving the other half intact. This procedure is performed to treat severe or persistent cases of osteoarthritis in the shoulder in which the humeral head (considered the “ball” of the joint) is most affected while the glenoid (“socket” of the joint) is still in good condition.

Surgery is usually considered a last resort treatment for arthritis, as conservative treatments like rest and anti-inflammatory medication are often effective in managing symptoms, especially for younger patients. This procedure is most often performed on patients in the more advanced stages of arthritis.

Once the damaged head of the upper arm has been replaced, patients will notice significant symptom relief, as the bone ends will no longer rub together and cause the painful friction associated with osteoarthritis.

Although this procedure is effective in relieving pain and other symptoms for most patients, there are certain risks and complications associated with any type of surgery. Some of the complications associated with hemiarthroplasty include shoulder stiffness, instability, infection and nerve damage.

Shoulder Resurfacing & Joint Preservation

Because of its prominent location and frequent use, the shoulder is often affected by chronic conditions such as arthritis and osteonecrosis (bone death) that cause patients to suffer from pain, swelling, stiffness and a limited range of motion that often progresses over time and restrict patients from engaging in activities they enjoy.

Treatment for these conditions can range from anti-inflammatory medication to corticosteroid injections to joint replacement surgery for the most severe cases. For patients who are not candidates for joint replacement or do not yet wish to undergo this procedure, a less invasive alternative is now available through shoulder resurfacing, which relieves symptoms while preserving the healthy areas of the joint.

Shoulder resurfacing uses an implant that is precisely shaped to fit each patient’s area of damaged cartilage so that all remaining healthy cartilage remains intact while the implant provides effective symptom relief. The implant is placed using arthroscopic means to provide patients with less scarring, less bleeding and shorter recovery times.

After undergoing shoulder resurfacing, patients will begin a rehabilitation program to restore strength and range of motion to the treated joint. Return to work and other regular activities can usually commence shortly after treatment. The results of the shoulder resurfacing procedure tend to last for many years and can effectively postpone or eliminate the need for joint replacement, depending on each patient’s individual condition.

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