Total Shoulder Replacement

Georgia Hand, Shoulder, and Elbow

The shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints in the body. However, conditions such as arthritis, rotator cuff tears, or trauma can cause severe pain and limit the shoulder’s functionality.

AdobeStock_451035542 1

The shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints in the body. However, conditions such as arthritis, rotator cuff tears, or trauma can cause severe pain and limit the shoulder’s functionality. For those experiencing chronic shoulder pain or reduced range of motion, shoulder replacement surgery can be a viable option.

If you are experiencing chronic shoulder pain and have been considering shoulder joint replacement surgery, it’s important to consult 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 schedule a consultation!

What Is Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Shoulder joint replacement surgery, also known as shoulder arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure that replaces the damaged parts of the shoulder joint with artificial components.

Why Have Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery? 

Total shoulder replacement surgery, which is also called total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA), is usually considered when other treatments, such as medications, physical therapy, and corticosteroid injections, have failed to relieve the symptoms of shoulder pain and limited mobility. 

Severe osteoarthritis is the most common reason why someone would consider having a total shoulder replacement surgery. This condition can cause the cartilage between the shoulder blade and upper arm bone to wear away, leading to inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Other conditions that may lead to total shoulder replacement surgery include rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis, and rotator cuff tear arthropathy.

Suitable candidates for total shoulder replacement surgery are individuals who have severe shoulder pain and limited mobility due to shoulder joint damage or arthritis. Typically, candidates are over the age of 50 and have already tried other non-surgical treatments without success. 

Shoulder replacement surgery can significantly improve shoulder function and reduce pain, leading to an improved quality of life. It can also prevent further damage to the shoulder joint and surrounding tissues. Patients who undergo total shoulder replacement surgery can expect to have increased shoulder mobility, improved ability to perform daily activities, and reduced dependence on pain medications.

What Are the Different Types of Shoulder Replacement Surgeries?

Some of the most common types of shoulder replacement surgeries include:

  • Total shoulder replacement (total shoulder arthroplasty): In this surgery, the entire shoulder joint is replaced with an artificial joint made up of metal and plastic components.
  • Partial shoulder replacement: This surgery involves replacing only the ball of the shoulder joint with a metal implant. The socket of the joint is left intact.
  • Reverse total shoulder replacement (also called reverse total shoulder arthroplasty): During this procedure, the position of the ball and socket joint is reversed, with the ball being placed on the shoulder blade and the socket on the upper arm bone. This allows the deltoid muscle to take over the function of the rotator cuff muscles. 
  • Resurfacing shoulder replacement: This surgery involves removing only the damaged surface of the humeral head and replacing it with a metal cap. The socket of the joint is left intact.

Preparing for Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Preparing for shoulder replacement surgery involves a series of steps to ensure the patient is physically and mentally prepared for the procedure. The following are some of the things that are typically involved in the preparation process:

  1. Medical evaluation: The patient’s overall health and medical history are assessed to determine if there are any underlying medical conditions that may affect the surgery or recovery process. The doctor may order various tests, such as blood tests and X-rays, to evaluate the patient’s health.
  2. Pre-operative counseling: The patient meets with the doctor, surgeon, or other healthcare professionals to discuss the procedure, expectations, and any questions or concerns. The patient is also informed about the risks, benefits, and potential complications associated with the surgery.
  3. Medication management: Patients may need to adjust or stop taking certain medications before the surgery. This may include blood thinners, aspirin, or anti-inflammatory drugs.
  4. Pre-operative physical therapy: Patients may undergo physical therapy to help strengthen the shoulder and surrounding muscles before surgery. This can help to improve the range of motion and speed up recovery.

What Happens During Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

During a shoulder replacement surgery, a surgeon will make an incision in the shoulder to access the damaged joint. The rotator cuff muscles and tendons are carefully moved to expose the shoulder joint, and the damaged bone and cartilage are removed from the socket and the humerus bone.

The surgeon then prepares the remaining bone to accept the prosthesis, which is typically made of metal and plastic components. The metal stem is inserted into the humerus bone, and the plastic cup is placed into the socket. The prosthetic components are attached to the bone using bone cement or press-fit techniques.

Once the prosthesis is in place, the surgeon will carefully move the arm and shoulder to ensure that the new joint is functioning properly. The rotator cuff muscles and tendons are then repaired, and the incision is closed using sutures or staples.

How Long Does Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery Take?

On average, shoulder replacements take between 2 and 3 hours to complete. However, the surgery may take longer if there are complications or the patient requires additional procedures.

What Is the Recovery Process Like After Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

After surgery, patients typically need to wear a sling for several weeks to support the shoulder and prevent any sudden movements that could damage the new joint. 

Pain after shoulder surgery is common and can be managed with prescribed medication. Patients may experience discomfort, swelling, and stiffness in the affected shoulder for several weeks to months after surgery. Physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises will help to alleviate these symptoms and improve mobility.

During the recovery period, patients must avoid any activities that could put stress on the shoulder joint, such as lifting heavy objects or engaging in contact sports. Patients will also need to attend regular follow-up appointments to monitor progress and ensure that there are no complications, such as infection or nerve damage.

Complications after shoulder surgery can include infection, nerve damage, and implant failure. Patients must report any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, and fever, to their healthcare provider immediately. 

The length of the recovery process varies from patient to patient and depends on several factors, such as age, overall health, and the extent of the surgery. It can take several months for patients to fully recover and regain strength and mobility in the affected shoulder.

Restore the Function of Your Shoulder

If you’re suffering from chronic shoulder pain, it might be time to consider shoulder replacement surgery. At Georgia Hand, Shoulder, & Elbow, we specialize in providing effective solutions for shoulder pain relief.

Our experienced surgeons can help you regain mobility and improve your quality of life. We have locations in Atlanta and Marietta, GA. Contact us today to learn more about our shoulder replacement surgery options!

Medically reviewed by

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Plastic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon