About your shoulder

The shoulder is a’ ball and socket’ joint with a large ball and shallow socket that allows the shoulder to have a large amount of movement. The shoulder rotator cuff is a group of muscles that keeps the ‘ball’ centred in the socket when we move our shoulder.

Why does the joint need to be replaced?

If the rotator cuff muscles have been damaged for a long time, their ability to control the shoulder movement is affected, resulting in secondary arthritis, called cuff tear arthropathy.

With worsening arthritis, the pain can get so bad that it interferes with your day to day activities. Pain killers may not help anymore and you struggle to do simple activities such as getting dressed and combing your hair. The pain may start to disturb your slee

What is the procedure and what does it involve?

Just like a Hip or a knee replacement, a Shoulder Replacement replaces the damaged joint surfaces with an artificial joint (Prosthesis). The joint is opened at the front of shoulder using a 10-12cm skin cut. Generally, I do this procedure with GA supplemented with an interscalene block to help with pain relief following your surgery.

The primary aim of the surgery is to reduce the pain in your shoulder. After surgery, you will hopefully have more range of movement and improved function. As the name suggests, in a reverse shoulder replacement, the polarity of the joint is reversed. This is done to activate a different group of muscles that will compensate for the torn and dysfunctional rotator cuff, and help move the joint. This video shows movements after surgery.

Osteoarthitis Right Shoulder on X-Ray

Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

What are the risks of the procedure?

Like with any other joint replacement, risks for a Shoulder Replacement  include infection, bleeding, stiffness, dislocation, nerve damage, fracture and DVT. The probability of any of these complications happening is less than 10%. Like with other joints, Shoulder replacement will loosen out over a long period of time and may need to be revised.

Do I need to do exercises?

Yes, you will be shown the appropriate exercises to be done under supervision of a Physiotherapist. The aim of these is to stop your shoulder stiffening up.