Total shoulder replacement is a complex procedure that involves replacing the shoulder joint with artificial parts (prosthesis) such as plastic, metal or ceramic devices.
These are designed to replicate the movements of a healthy and normal joint.
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. The ball is the upper part of the arm bone and is called the humeral head. The socket is smaller and is part of the shoulder blade. The ball is held in the socket by ligaments and by the rotator cuff tendons. The rotator cuff muscles start on the shoulder blade and turn into tendons that attach to the ball. In shoulder replacement surgery the ball is replaced with a metal ball attached to a stem.
The stem is inserted down the shaft of the humerus. Sometimes cement is utilized to keep the stem in place. The socket sometimes is replaced with a plastic piece which is usually fixed to a groove in the socket with cement. Whether a socket is used or not depends upon how bad the arthritis is in the shoulder and whether the rotator cuff tendons are intact.
When Is Total Joint Replacement Recommended?
- There are several reasons why your doctor may recommend shoulder replacement surgery.
- Severe shoulder pain that interferes with everyday activities, such as dressing, toileting, and washing.
- Moderate to severe pain while resting. This pain may be severe enough to prevent a good night’s sleep.
- Loss of motion in the shoulder.
- Failure to substantially improve with other treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, or physical therapy