The shoulder joint is made of a ball and socket. These parts fit together and allow you to rotate and move your arm around smoothly. The ball of the joint is located at the top of your upper arm bone, and the socket is part of your shoulder blade. In a traditional shoulder replacement, the ball at the top of the arm bone is replaced with a prosthetic ball that is made of metal, and the socket of the shoulder is replaced with a new plastic-like socket.
Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty still replaces the entire shoulder joint (ball and socket) but with the parts inverted — the new socket is attached to the top of your arm bone, and the metal ball is attached to the shoulder blade. The two parts will still function together very similarly to any other joint but with a few key differences.
Who should consider a reverse shoulder replacement?
Reverse shoulder replacements are more effective at treating certain conditions than regular shoulder replacements:
- Torn rotator cuffs with arm weakness
- Severe arthritis with rotator cuff tearing
- Previous shoulder replacements that were unsuccessful
Rotator cuff injuries can seriously limit your range of motions, especially when lifting your arm up. By switching the positions of the ball and socket of the joint, reverse shoulder arthroplasty diverts some of these lifting forces to the deltoid muscle, rather than trying to lift the arm with the torn rotator cuff. This allows patients with rotator cuff injuries to have less pain and improved mobility compared to if they received a traditional shoulder replacement.
Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement Procedures
The procedure itself is relatively similar to a normal shoulder replacement. The entire surgery takes about two hours, and patients will be under anesthesia the entire time. The top of the upper arm bone, where the ball of your natural shoulder joint is located, will be removed and replaced with a prosthetic socket. This socket will fit perfectly with the prosthetic ball, which will be attached to the shoulder bone.
After surgery, you will have to rest your shoulder and wear a sling for some time. Lifting objects heavier than a glass of water will not be allowed for a few weeks. You will likely have exercises or a physical therapy routine to restore your strength and range of motion after surgery.
Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement in Novato, CA
If you experience a shoulder injury or chronic shoulder pain, one of our specialists can help you find a treatment plan that works for you. Whether you need physical therapy, pain management, or shoulder surgery, Marin Orthopedics & Sports Medicine is here to help. Feel free to give our office in Novato, CA, a call for more information.