Similar to the hip joint, the shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint that allows for a wide range of motion. Though less common than hip replacements and knee replacements, shoulder replacement surgery can be just as effective at relieving severe pain from arthritis of the shoulder. Shoulder replacement involves surgery to replace the ends of bones in a damaged joint. This surgery creates new joint surfaces. The primary goal of shoulder replacement surgery is pain relief, with a secondary benefit of restoring motion, strength, function, and assisting with returning patients to an activity level as near to normal as possible.
Shoulder replacement surgery is an option for treatment of severe arthritis of the shoulder joint. Arthritis is a condition that affects the cartilage of the joints. As the cartilage lining wears away, the protective lining between the bones is lost. When this happens, painful bone-on-bone arthritis develops
ANATOMY OF A SHOULDER JOINT
The most flexible joint in the entire human body, our shoulder joint is formed by the union of the humerus, the scapula (or shoulder blade), and the clavicle (or collarbone). Commonly thought of as a single joint, the shoulder is actually made up of two separate joints – the glenohumeral and acromioclavicular joints. These two joints work together to allow the arm both to circumduct in a large circle and to rotate around its axis at the shoulder. Although both of these joints are held together by extensive ligament and muscle attachments, certain types of force can easily weaken the shoulder. The shoulder joint is vulnerable to dislocations. Chronic or acute wear and tear on the glenohumeral joint can lead to the painful tearing of the tendons of the rotator cuff or a torn labrum. Both of these conditions are very painful and may require surgery to remove or reattach the torn tissue.
WHEN TO HAVE SHOULDER REPLACEMENT SURGERY?
There are several reasons why your doctor may recommend shoulder replacement surgery. Severe shoulder pain that interferes with everyday activities. Moderate to severe pain while resting. This pain may be severe enough to prevent a good night’s sleep. Loss of motion and/or weakness in the shoulder. Failure to substantially improve with other treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, or physical therapy.
The decision to have shoulder replacement surgery should be a cooperative one between you, your family, your family physician, and your Orthopaedic surgeon.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING SHOULDER REPLACEMENT SURGERY?
In shoulder replacement surgery, doctors replace the ends of the damaged upper arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder bone (scapula) or cap them with artificial surfaces lined with plastic or metal and plastic. Shoulder joint components may be held in place with cement. Or they may be made with material that allows new bone to grow into the joint component over time to hold it in place without cement.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER SURGERY?
After your surgery, your doctors will prescribe you with pain medication and antibiotics to help prevent infection. You will likely be able to leave the hospital within the first couple days after surgery, but that will vary from person to person, and it’s important to remember that your healing process is not over when you leave the hospital. It’s important to remember that your healing process is not over when you leave the hospital. A physical therapist may begin gentle exercises of your shoulder on the day of surgery or the day after. These exercises are just passive motion