Shoulder replacement surgery is an option for treatment of severe arthritis of the shoulder joint. Arthritis is a condition that affects the cartilage of the joints. As the cartilage lining wears away, the protective lining between the bones is lost--when this happens, painful bone-on-bone arthritis develops. Severe shoulder arthritis is quite painful, and can cause restriction of motion. While this may be tolerated with some medications and lifestyle adjustments, there may come a time when surgical treatment is necessary.
What Is A Total Shoulder Replacement?
Total shoulder replacement surgery alleviates pain by replacing the damaged bone and cartilage with a metal and plastic implant. The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint, much like the hip joint. The ball is the top of the arm bone (the humerus), and the socket is within the shoulder blade (scapula). This joint allows people an enormous range of motion at the shoulder.
When shoulder replacement surgery is performed, the ball is removed from the top of the humerus and replaced with a metal implant. This is shaped like a half-moon and attached to a stem inserted down the center of the arm bone. The socket portion of the joint is shaved clean and replaced with a plastic socket that is cemented into the scapula.
What Are The Symptoms To Detect Shoulder Replacement?
Patients with arthritis typically describe a deep ache within the shoulder joint. Initially, the pain feels worse with movement and activity, and eases with rest. As the arthritis progresses, the pain may occur even when you rest. By the time a patient sees a physician for the shoulder pain, he or she often has pain at night. This pain may be severe enough to prevent a good night's sleep. The patient's shoulder may make grinding or grating noises when moved. Or the shoulder may catch, grab, clunk or lock up. Over time, the patient may notice loss of motion and/or weakness in the affected shoulder. Simple daily activities like reaching into a cupboard, dressing, toileting and washing the opposite armpit may become increasingly difficult.
How Do I Know If I Am Ready For Shoulder Replacement Surgery?
Patients who have tried the usual treatments for shoulder arthritis, but have not been able to find adequate relief, may be a candidate for shoulder replacement surgery. Patients considering the procedure should understand the potential risks of surgery, and understand that the goal of joint replacement is to alleviate pain. Patients generally find improved motion after surgery, but these improvements are not as consistent as the pain relief following shoulder replacement surgery.
How Long Is The Recovery Following Shoulder Replacement Surgery?
Hospital stays vary from one to three days for most patients. You will be sent home wearing a sling and you should not attempt to use the arm except as specifically instructed by your doctor.
Most physicians will begin some motion immediately following surgery, but this may not be true in every case. Usually within two to three months, patients are able to return to most normal activities and place an emphasis on strengthening the muscles around the shoulder and maintaining range of motion.
Over the years, Shoulder Replacement surgery has come to be used for many other painful conditions of the shoulder.
* Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)
* Rheumatoid arthritis
* Post-traumatic arthritis
* Rotator cuff tear arthropathy (a combination of severe arthritis and a massive non-reparable Rotator Cuff tendon tear)
* Avascular necrosis (osteonecrosis)
* Failed previous shoulder replacement surgery
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