Total Shoulder replacement

Jun 21, 2023 | Frozen Shoulder

About your shoulder

The shoulder is a’ ball and socket’ joint. It has 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. Due to arthritis, the shoulder joint can become painful. This can cause reduction in range of movement and function can be affected. Shoulder replacement is an operation that can help with these symptoms.

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 physiotherapy after the operation?

Yes, it will help you to achieve the optimum result from your surgery. Details of relevant protocol are uploaded elsewhere on the website as below.

Why does the joint need to be replaced?

The most common reason is Osteoarthritis (wear and tear) or Rheumatoid Arthritis. 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 sleep. Shoulder replacements are also sometimes necessary following a fracture.

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.

There are 2 types of Total Shoulder Replacement: Anatomical and Reversed. For the standard total shoulder replacement to be done, your rotator cuff should be in good functional condition. If not, you will need either a reverse shoulder or a hemiarthroplasty (replacing only the ball but not the socket).

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