What is shoulder replacement?
Total shoulder replacement is a surgical procedure in which Dr. Weinheimer replaces your shoulder joint with a prosthetic one. The goal of the procedure is to alleviate pain and help you use your shoulder normally again.
Reverse shoulder replacement is an alternative to a conventional shoulder replacement surgery. Dr. Weinheimer may recommend this procedure if you have cuff tear arthropathy, which is a complex form of shoulder arthritis that develops after a large rotator cuff tear.
How does shoulder replacement work?
Your shoulder joint is a large ball-and-socket joint composed of bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. In a total shoulder replacement, Dr. Weinheimer replaces the shoulder’s socket with a prosthetic cup. He also replaces the humeral head with a metal ball. Once Dr. Weinheimer has removed the damaged parts of your shoulder and replaced them, you should experience less pain and eventually regain mobility.
How does reverse shoulder replacement work?
A conventional shoulder replacement procedure involves replacing the ball-and-socket shoulder joint with prosthetic parts that mimic the original joint’s motion and function. With a reverse shoulder replacement, Dr. Weinheimer reverses the position of the prosthetic ball and socket.
A reverse shoulder replacement is more effective for patients with cuff tear arthropathy because movement of the arm relies on different muscles after this procedure. When your shoulder is healthy, your rotator cuff muscles are responsible for moving your shoulder and arm. However, if you have a large rotator cuff tear, these muscles don’t function properly anymore. A reverse shoulder replacement shifts responsibility for movement to your healthy deltoid muscle instead, providing you with better strength and range of motion.
When is shoulder replacement surgery necessary?
Total shoulder replacement is usually necessary when you have severe damage in your shoulder joint that causes ongoing pain. In most cases, Dr. Weinheimer recommends shoulder replacement only when less invasive treatment options have been unsuccessful at relieving pain.
Most people who have shoulder replacement surgery have a history of arthritis or fractures that caused permanent damage to parts of the shoulder joint. Before recommending shoulder surgery, Dr. Weinheimer may ask you to attempt to relieve your pain with physical therapy and medication if you have one of these conditions.
What are the risks?
Shoulder replacement surgery carries risks like most other surgical procedures, including:
- Allergic reaction to anesthesia
- Excessive bleeding
- Postoperative pain
- Infection at the surgical site
- Damage to surrounding tissues
In rare cases, shoulder replacement surgery may not be successful, and you may continue experiencing symptoms even after your recovery period. However, as an experienced shoulder surgeon, Dr. Weinheimer knows how to perform these procedures as safely and effectively as possible.
How fast do patients recover from shoulder replacement surgery?
In most cases, patients need to stay in the hospital for one day after the procedure. After you return home, you continue to recover. During the first six weeks, Dr. Weinheimer typically recommends restrictions on your activities. After this period, you’re able to increase your use of your shoulder gradually until you’ve regained normal strength and function.
Shoulder surgery patients usually need physical therapy to promote healing and recover function. Following all of Dr. Weinheimer’s recovery instructions carefully is the best way to ensure that you heal as quickly and completely as possible.