Total shoulder replacement


Total shoulder replacement is the treatment of severe pain and stiffness in the shoulder due to various form of arthritis and degenerative joint diseases in the shoulder. This surgery is also known as shoulder arthroplasty and with the advanced technology it has given the advantage of pain relief along with the normal motion and strength to the shoulder as much as possible. With the help of this surgery, there will be no harm to your daily routine activities and hobbies such as swimming, yoga, Pilates or in your favourite sports like tennis or badminton. This total shoulder replacement surgery has proved helpful to many patients by giving relief and comfort from painful shoulder arthritis. Among many other surgical options, this procedure has given the most rapid improvement in the function and comfort of the severe shoulder pain. But it also needs the patient’s hard work and dedication to the physical therapies and other follow-ups for the quick and comfortable movement of the shoulder as desired.

The shoulder and its damaged parts

The shoulder consists of a ball (humeral head) which is present in the socket (glenoid) and it is fixed there with the help of the rotator cuff. When the smooth cartilage starts disappearing from the surface of the shoulder, the ball and the socket starts gliding against one another. Due to this, a bone on bone joint appears which causes severe pain. This is situation, where total shoulder replacement surgery is needed to get relief from the pain

This damage is mainly due to shoulder arthritis by injury, degeneration or inflammation. In the shoulder joint replacement surgery, the damaged surface is replaced by a metal ball and the socket is replaced by a high-density polyethylene component.

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The Procedure of the Surgery

The procedure of the shoulder replacement surgery is a minimally invasive shoulder replacement procedure which is frequently recommended by the surgeons. The steps involved in the procedure are:
  • Anesthesia
    A regional anesthesia with interscalene block or general anesthesia is given to make the patient fall asleep during the surgery. But for most of the cases, in the total shoulder replacement, both regional and general anesthesia is used. The person is operated on a sitting-up position.
  • Surgery
    The total shoulder replacement procedure begins with the incision in the shoulder area to be treated. And then the deltoid and the pectoral muscles are separated to give a large nerve-free area by which there is no danger of any damage to the nerve. The anterior (front) rotator cuff of the muscle is cut to view and manipulate the arthritis part causing pain. These parts are mainly the ball and the socket.
  • The implant
    The next step in the total shoulder joint replacement is the removal of the damaged part and then implantation of the new socket, ball, and the stem component. The implants are of various different types but mainly share the same basic component that is the metal ball that lies against a plastic socket. In the replacement, the goal is to remove the arthritis humeral head and replace it with this implant of metal ball and socket.

After implantation, the surgeon stitches the rotator cuff muscle and then finally stitches the incision and cover it by a temporary bandage.

Nowadays, some of the people go through another problem in the shoulder that is cuff tear arthropathy after the replacement surgery. This type of symptom is seen when a person has a large rotator cuff tear. And it is treated by the reverse total shoulder replacement surgery to minimize the severe pain.

The Risks and Complications Involved in the Surgery

As per now, not many complications are seen after the total shoulder joint replacement surgery but there are some of them which include:

  • Shoulder stiffness
  • Instability if the ball slips out of the socket.
  • Bleeding
  • Nerve damage
  • Infection
If there is wear, loosening or desolation after the surgery then the surgery should be revised.

The Cost of the Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery

The shoulder replacement surgery costs 6500 to 7000 USD. The cost of the surgery depends on the type of the surgery either total or reversed replacement and also on the hospital facilities and the staff. The cost is increasing day by day with the increasing popularity of shoulder replacement surgery. Also, with new technologies, the surgery is done quickly and charges more.

Recovery from the Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery

It is very important to take special care for the shoulder replacement surgery recovery and for that you can follow the following things:
  • Physical therapies should be followed to strengthen the shoulder muscle and bring back to its normal activities and motion.
  • You should not get back to your office for 2 to 3 weeks as the desk-work activities may cause pain and slow recovery.
  • For 3 months you have weakness in your shoulder muscle so you should avoid lifting heavy weight.
  • You should take time to time appointments to your surgeon to make sure you are recovering and the healing process is going right.

If your shoulder is in severe pain, then don’t give yourself much trouble and go for total shoulder joint replacement surgery.


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