Reverse Shoulder Replacement

What is a reverse shoulder replacement?

A reverse total shoulder replacement is a type of total shoulder replacement procedure. A total shoulder replacement procedure involves replacing the damaged parts of the shoulder joint with artificial components and the joint’s ball and socket. A reverse total shoulder replacement technique is used when the patient requires a total shoulder replacement but has also sustained a rotator cuff tear that cannot be repaired. When a rotator cuff tear occurs, the tendon is unable to completely attach to the head of the humerus. Patients with rotator cuff tears may experience pain when lying on the shoulder, weakness when lifting or rotating their arms, and a crackling sensation with shoulder movement. Those with cuff tear arthropathy, a previously unsuccessful shoulder replacement, complex fractures of the shoulder joint, chronic shoulder dislocations, a tumor in the shoulder joint, a torn rotator cuff that cannot be repaired, and those who have tried other treatments for shoulder pain may be a candidate for this procedure. For those with cuff tear arthropathy, a reverse shoulder replacement procedure uses the deltoid muscles to power and position the arm instead of the rotator cuff.

What is a reverse shoulder replacement procedure like?

To prepare for surgery, patients will require a medical evaluation and receive a complete physical by their primary care doctor to determine whether or not they are healthy enough to have the surgery. Patients with chronic health conditions may also need to be evaluated by specialists. Patients should inform their doctor if they are taking any medications or supplements. They may need to stop taking certain medications such as NSAIDs, blood thinners, and arthritis medications.

The patient will be given general anesthesia, regional anesthesia, or a combination of the two. The surgeon will make an incision at the front or top of the shoulder, remove the damaged bone, and install the new artificial components of the joint. The patient may be prescribed pain medication or recommended over-the-counter medication. Their arm will be placed in a sling, and a physical therapy program will be required in order for them to regain strength and mobility.

Do you have a shoulder injury that could benefit from this surgical technique? Contact the specialists at Mobility Bone & Joint Institute to learn more about treatment options.

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