Total shoulder replacement (arthroplasty) is a long-established surgery for restoring comfort and function to people with painful shoulder arthritis. In this procedure, the arthritic ball is replaced by a smooth metal ball fixed to the arm bone (humerus) by a stem that fits within it.
Who is a suitable candidate for reverse total shoulder replacement (arthroplasty)?
People with large rotator cuff tears who develop a complex type of shoulder arthritis called "cuff tear arthropathy" are typically good candidates. They cannot undergo conventional total shoulder replacement because the procedure would result in pain and limited motion.
What are the benefits of reverse total shoulder replacement?
In reverse total shoulder replacement, the socket and metal ball are switched. The metal ball is fixed to the socket and the plastic cup is fixed to the upper end of the humerus. Reverse total shoulder replacement relies on the deltoid muscle to power and position the arm, instead of the rotator cuff.
How long is recovery after total shoulder replacement?
The typical hospital stay is 24 to 48 hours. The patient can expect significant pain for the first few days to one week after the operation. At about two weeks, the pain is not as intense and will continue to gradually decrease. Most patients are prescribed narcotic painkillers, but we always try to wean them off these as soon as possible. Physical therapy is an important part of recovery and is typically recommended for a minimum of two months following surgery.