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Shoulder Replacement Surgery

You don't have to live with shoulder pain, weakness or stiffness. Reconstructive surgery is an option to help you get your shoulder back to normal functioning.

Total Shoulder Replacement

More than 25,000 shoulder replacements are performed in the U.S. each year. Total shoulder replacement surgery is often recommended when arthritis and degenerative joint diseases do not respond to conservative treatment.

This type of surgery involves replacing the wornout joint surfaces. The diseased bone in the head of the upper arm (humerus) is replaced with a metal ball. The humerus is hollowed out; a shaft that holds the ball in place is then inserted into the cavity. A synthetic socket then is fixed to the shoulder blade (glenoid).

For many, this surgery provides complete to almost complete pain relief.

Reverse Shoulder Replacement

Reverse shoulder replacement has had long-term success dating back to the early 1980s. This procedure most often is performed on patients suffering from severe rotator cuff tears, arthritis in the shoulder and serious fractures in which the bone is too severely damaged to repair.

In a healthy shoulder, the humerus ends in a ball shape and fits into the shoulder blade's socket. In reverse shoulder replacement, the structure of the healthy shoulder is reversed. An implant is inserted, enabling the ball portion to attach directly to the shoulder blade; the socket is inserted at the upper end of the humerus. This procedure relies on the deltoid muscle, instead of the rotator cuff, to power and position the arm.

Older patients with significant shoulder pain and little to no shoulder mobility — and patients with chronic rotator cuff arthritis — are typical candidates.

Find an orthopedic shoulder specialist.