When the shoulder joint is damaged, it can limit the movement of your arm and hand, causing constant pain. The most common cause of shoulder pain is osteoarthritis, but there are other injuries and diseases that can impact this crucial joint. When conservative treatments or minimally-invasive surgeries are ineffective for improving a dysfunctional and painful shoulder, joint replacement surgery may be an option. At Ortho Sport & Spine Physicians, we help patients with limited shoulder mobility and chronic pain decide if shoulder replacement surgery is right for them.
Joint replacement surgery is a major decision. Once you remove your natural joint components, you cannot reverse the procedure. A shoulder replacement surgery involves replacing the top of the humeral head (the ball on the top end of the upper arm bone) and the socket of the shoulder (the glenoid) with metal and plastic components. These new components are made to move freely and are still powered by the rotator cuff and muscles of the arm and shoulder. Successful shoulder replacement surgeries greatly reduce shoulder joint pain and improve the range of motion for the patient.
Are You a Good Candidate for Shoulder Replacement?
Shoulder pain and a reduced range of motion can greatly impact your quality of life. However, there are many shoulder treatments that can be effective for improving joint function and relieving chronic shoulder pain. At Ortho Sport & Spine Physicians, we want our patients to explore all their options for treatment before considering shoulder replacement surgery. We offer injection therapy, physical therapy, arthroscopy and shoulder repairs that are minimally-invasive.
When conservative treatments are ineffective at controlling shoulder pain or improving function, joint replacement surgery may be considered. The best candidates for shoulder replacement surgery are those who have suffered extensive cartilage or bone damage to the joint, causing friction, pain and limited range of motion. An artificial shoulder joint will still require the surrounding tendons and ligaments for movement. So, replacing the shoulder joint will not fix pain or mobility issues related solely to rotator cuff injuries. Shoulder replacement surgery candidates are usually those with extreme bone-on-bone friction in the joint that is causing their pain and motion issues.
What to Expect with Shoulder Joint Replacement
We want our patients to be well-informed before undergoing any type of surgery. If shoulder joint replacement is determined to be the best solution, it will be a consensus between the patient, their doctor and an orthopedic surgeon. This is after discussing all the possible options available. Any surgery comes with risks. However, when the benefits outweigh the risks, joint replacement may be the right procedure for the patient.
The actual surgery takes about three hours. Patients will usually stay in the hospital for one or more days and begin some level of physical therapy the day after surgery. Physical therapy is a key component of any orthopedic surgery, especially joint replacements. Regaining strength and range of motion through exercises and stretching will continue throughout recovery, which can last several months. Usually, it takes 4-6 weeks of recovery and physical therapy before the shoulder is functional enough for driving and other activities.
The success rate for shoulder replacement surgery is high. While any surgery can have complications, our experienced orthopedic surgical team at Ortho Sport & Spine Physicians gives our patients the best care to minimize any possible risks.
If you have been living with chronic shoulder pain and limited function that no longer respond to conservative treatments, come see us at Ortho Sport & Spine Physicians. We offer advanced orthopedic treatments for shoulder issues, including joint replacement surgery. Contact our office to schedule a consultation with an orthopedic specialist at a clinic near you.