Shoulder Replacement Surgery

What is Total Shoulder Replacement?

Total shoulder replacement, also known as total shoulder Arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which part or all of the shoulder joint is replaced with artificial implants. It is a widely used surgical procedure for treating the severe pain and stiffness that often result at the end stage of various forms of arthritis or degenerative joint disease of the shoulder joint. It is performed on the shoulder when medical interventions, such as other conservative surgeries, medication, and physical therapy, no longer provide pain relief.

Total shoulder joint replacement is an option given to patients who suffer from joint dysfunction due to osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. These medical conditions affect the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder and impair joint function, and cause pain during moving, bending, twisting or raising the arm.

In a normal shoulder, the rounded end of the upper arm bone (head of the humerus) glides against the small dish-like socket (glenoid) in the shoulder blade (scapula). These joint surfaces are normally covered with smooth cartilage. They allow the shoulder to rotate through a greater range of motion than any other joint in the body. The surrounding muscles and tendons provide stability and support.

Procedure of Total Shoulder Replacement

In the total shoulder replacement procedure, the arthritic ball is replaced by a smooth metal ball fixed to the arm bone (humerus) by a stem that fits within it. The arthritic socket (glenoid) is resurfaced with a high-density polyethylene prosthesis. During shoulder replacement surgery, an incision is made in the front of the shoulder. Once the surgeon exposes the shoulder joint, the surgeon will remove the damaged bone and cartilage. The head of the humerus is then removed and a metal stem is placed into the humeral canal. This provides a stabilizing anchor for the new humeral head.