Total Shoulder Arthroplasty vs Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty

Georgia Hand, Shoulder, and Elbow

Arthroplasty is the medical term used for the surgical procedure in which a musculoskeletal joint is replaced, remodeled, or realigned. The ball and socket joint in the shoulder can be replaced using different procedures. Two of these procedures are regular total shoulder replacement and reverse total shoulder replacement. This article will discuss the two procedures as well as the advantages and risks of both.

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If you are experiencing chronic shoulder pain and have been considering shoulder joint replacement surgery, schedule a consultation with a qualified orthopedic surgeon. At Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow, we offer expert care and personalized treatment plans to help you regain your mobility and quality of life.

We have locations in Marietta and Atlanta, Georgia. Contact us today to book an appointment!

Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

Total shoulder replacement is a surgical procedure used to replace the damaged joint surfaces of the shoulder with artificial parts. During the surgery, the damaged bone and cartilage are removed and replaced with an artificial ball-and-socket joint. 

The ball is usually made of highly polished metal. It is attached to the upper arm bone with cement or press fit into the bone. The plastic socket is nearly always attached to the shoulder blade with bone cement. The resulting artificial joint replicates the natural movement of a healthy shoulder joint.

Benefits of Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

The new joint can restore a pain-free range of movement and improve arm function, allowing you to return to activities you previously enjoyed. Total shoulder replacement may be recommended for those suffering from severe osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis that has caused significant damage to their shoulder joints.

Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

Reverse total shoulder replacement involves switching the position of the socket and metal ball. A plastic socket is attached to the upper arm bone, and a metal ball is attached to the shoulder bone. This will allow you to lift your arm without the use of your rotator cuff muscles. Instead, the movement will be performed using your deltoid muscles.

Benefits of Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

A reverse shoulder replacement may be recommended by your surgeon when you have rotator cuff arthropathy, a type of shoulder arthritis where the rotator cuff tendons are torn. It may also be used when a previous shoulder replacement needs replacing. If you have a fracture of the humeral head, it may be necessary. 

The reverse design of this particular joint may allow for improved motion in the shoulder since it uses different muscles than the traditional shoulder replacement. 

Risks of Shoulder Replacement

As with all surgical procedures, shoulder replacement has some risks associated with surgery. The following list contains some of these risks:

Do I Need Shoulder Surgery?

Your surgeon will be able to discuss the relative risks, complications, and benefits with you. The surgeon will then present you with all the options to help you with your decision. 

Shoulder replacements are usually recommended for the following reasons:

  • Shoulder pain makes it difficult to perform some everyday activities.
  • You experience moderate to severe pain even while at rest.
  • Feeling weakness or loss of motion in the shoulder.
  • Non-surgical treatments have not been able to make improvements. 

Get Help for Chronic Shoulder Pain

If you’re suffering from chronic shoulder pain, contact one of our orthopedic offices. At Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow, we specialize in providing shoulder replacement surgery and other effective solutions for shoulder pain relief.

Our experienced surgeons are ready to help! We have locations in Atlanta and Marietta, GA. Contact us today to learn more about our shoulder replacement surgery options!

Medically reviewed by

Randall Alexander, MD

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Plastic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon