Total shoulder replacement surgery ranks as the third most common type of joint replacement behind total knee and hips. Total shoulder replacement is performed for a number of conditions including advanced osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis of the shoulder, certain types of fractures, and in some cases for previously failed shoulder replacement surgery. The goals of the procedure are pain relief and restoration of motion.
Shoulder replacement surgery is performed by a highly trained orthopaedic surgeon. An incision is made that allows the surgeon to form a plane between the deltoid and pectoralis muscles (chest).
The soft tissues are dissected away, allowing the surgeon to enter into the joint. In simplest form, the damaged humeral head (“ball”) is replaced with a metal ball and a metal stem that extends down into the humerus. A smooth plastic piece (polyethylene) is placed in the socket (Glenoid). Bone cement may be used to provide immediate fixation.
There are many different sizes and types of implants available for total replacement surgery. A perfect fit of the implant along with soft tissue balancing is imperative for a successful outcome.
This procedure is an inpatient procedure performed in a hospital setting. It is generally performed under general anesthesia. A nerve block may also be utilized to provide pain control.
Complications from this type of surgery include infection, nerve and blood vessel injuries, loosening of the prosthesis, instability, persistent stiffness, bleeding and blood clots. There are also specific risks associated with anesthesia.