Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery
Some patients are not candidates for a typical shoulder joint replacement surgery. A different type of shoulder replacement, called reverse shoulder replacement, may be an option to provide provide pain relief and return function to the shoulder.
A reverse shoulder replacement differs from a standard shoulder replacement in that the ball and socket parts of the shoulder joint switch sides, attaching the “ball” to the shoulder blade and the “socket” to the upper arm. In other words, the normal shoulder anatomy is reversed.
Who is a Good Candidate for Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery?
As with any joint replacement, a reverse shoulder replacement is not typically recommended until other options have been exhausted and determined that they will not provide pain relief. These non-surgical measures include rest, medications, physical therapy, and/or injections.
Your orthopedic surgeon will determine which type of shoulder joint replacement is right for you. While a reverse shoulder replacement is not the most common shoulder joint surgery, there are certain situations where it may be the best, and sometimes the only option. These situations can include:
- A completely torn rotator cuff that cannot be repaired
- Cuff tear arthropathy
- A previous shoulder replacement that was unsuccessful
- Severe shoulder pain and difficulty lifting your arm away from your side or over your head
- A complex fracture of the shoulder joint
- A chronic shoulder dislocation
How Reverse Shoulder Replacement Works
The reverse shoulder replacement surgery is performed almost identically to the normal shoulder replacement - except different artificial parts are inserted. You can learn more about how the surgical procedure works by watching the video below.
Is it the Right Option for You?
At Sterling Ridge Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, reverse shoulder replacement is performed by Dr. Paul Chin and Dr. Mark Eilers. Dr. Chin is one of the researchers of this surgery and was an author of an article in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery Reviews published in October 2014. Dr. Chin and Dr. Eilers will evaluate candidates for reverse shoulder replacement surgery to determine if it’s the best option for your shoulder. Request an appointment at our locations in Spring or The Woodlands if you’d like to have your shoulder evaluated.
After surgery, you will meet with the SROSM therapy team to begin your rehabilitation program, which could include standard physical therapy and/or aquatic therapy. Most people experience improved shoulder function after this surgery and therapy treatments. You may be involved in a progressive physical therapy program for two to four months after surgery to ensure the best results from your artificial joint. After your healing has progressed, you may only need to check in with your therapist every few weeks.
In addition to the published article authored by Dr. Chin, you can learn more about shoulder joint replacement surgery by downloading our educational document A Patient’s Guide to Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty.