It may be time for you to consider a total shoulder replacement if:
When the articular cartilage surrounding the ball and socket of your shoulder joint (where the humerus meets the scapula) is damaged beyond repair, most often due to osteoarthritis (or degenerative joint disease), shoulder replacement surgery seeks to remove the damaged portion of the shoulder and replace it with an artificial component to increase range of motion and alleviate shoulder pain.
A total shoulder replacement (or total shoulder arthroplasty) is used for patients with severe arthritis in the shoulder joint, but with a functioning rotator cuff. Total shoulder replacement involves 5 main steps:
A reverse shoulder replacement (reverse shoulder arthroplasty) is used for patients with severe arthritis in the shoulder joint, but without a functioning rotator cuff (rotator cuff arthropathy). Reverse shoulder replacement gets its name from the fact that it reverses the position of the ball and socket in the shoulder joint. It involves 5 main steps:
Reverse shoulder replacement offers the same benefits of total shoulder replacement, but changes the biomechanics of the shoulder joint to maximize the efficiency of the larger deltoid muscle and allow patients without an intact rotator cuff to regain some of their lost function.
In addition to helping patients with rotator cuff arthropathy, reverse shoulder replacement has allowed surgeons to address very difficult shoulder problems like arthritis with bone loss, fracture non-union or malunion, and failed shoulder replacements.
Speak with your surgeon to learn more about the two types of shoulder replacement and which might be most appropriate for you.
The bottom line is that shoulder replacement surgery is a last resort for dealing with shoulder pain due to arthritis. However, if you have tried conservative treatment options with no success and persistent arthritic shoulder pain is interfering with your life and limiting your daily activities, it is time to talk with your doctor about a shoulder replacement.