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Total Shoulder Replacement

Total Shoulder Replacement

Most people during the course of their lives experience joint pain, and the shoulder is no exception. Shoulder pain, though, may be caused by a variety of factors including arthritis, overuse or something more serious like a torn rotator cuff. If you have difficulty lifting your arm, and are experiencing severe, ongoing pain in your shoulder, it may be time to consult an orthopedic physician to discuss your treatment options.

The arm is composed to three bones (the collarbone, scapula and humerus) that rotate in a ball and socket joint. The rotator cuff is a set of muscles that keeps the arm in its socket. If it becomes damaged or torn completely, moving the arm becomes extremely difficult and painful. Sometimes surgery is the only option to repair the damage, restore range of motion and stop the pain. However, surgery should only be considered after conventional methods have been exhausted, including rehabilitation or physical therapy and over-the-counter medications. Only a qualified orthopedic physician will be able to determine if surgery is the best course of action.

Depending on the severity of the damage to the rotator cuff, different surgical options are available. For a partial tear in which the muscles of the rotator cuff are still able to move the arm, a total shoulder replacement may be appropriate. During surgery, the damaged part of the shoulder is removed and replaced with new components that will restore your range of motion. Essentially, these components are like a cup and a ball in which the ‘ball’ is placed on the humerus (upper arm) and the ‘cup’ is placed in the scapula (shoulder blade). However, if torn completely, the rotator cuff muscles are no longer functional and a reverse total shoulder replacement is necessary. This surgery uses the same components but their positions are switched; the ‘ball’ is attached to the scapula and the ‘cup’ connects to the humerus. Because of this reversal, different muscles are used to move the arm bypassing the rotator cuff.

Following surgery, your physician will provide you with a guideline for recovery. Different pain medications are generally prescribed and physical therapy may also be necessary. But you should experience a vast improvement in your range of motion within a matter of weeks so long as you rest and rehabilitate the shoulder according to your doctor’s advice.

The Longstreet Clinic employs several physicians that specialize in orthopedic medicine. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, our board-certified specialists are qualified to assess your shoulder issues and suggest the best corrective action. All surgeries are performed at Northeast Georgia Medical Center's state-of-the-art North Patient Tower and Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton.
Request an Appointment with an OrthoTLC Physician Today!
For more information or to schedule an appointment with any of our orthopedic specialists, please complete our online form or call OrthoTLC at (678) 207- 4500.