2 Truths & a Lie About Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Joseph A. Abboud, MD December 3rd, 2014

Every day, when you wake up and go about your regular activities, you make use all of the benefits that a healthy shoulder provides.

Whether you fully realize it or not, a majority of your daily responsibilities require the reaching, stretching and rotating motions that only a flexible ball-in-socket joint like a shoulder can offer. It isn’t until the shoulder sustains an injury or begins to suffer from the wear and tear of age or overuse that patients often realize just how much they count on the shoulder joint to perform well on a daily basis.

If your shoulder is no longer “performing well,” then you are probably looking for a solution to the pain and lack of mobility that you’re experiencing. Whether it is arthritis or injury, total shoulder replacement surgery could be just the treatment approach needed to address the problem and minimize the pain.
Whether you’re a teacher, who can no longer reach up to write on the chalkboard or a highly competitive athlete, who can no longer shoot a basket, an injured, painful shoulder can really put a damper on your plans, goals and responsibilities. Don’t let severe shoulder pain keep you from living the healthy, active lifestyle you’ve been wanting to pursue. If it’s time to consider the possibility of having total shoulder replacement surgery, then take the time to educate yourself on some of the facts and myths concerning this amazing procedure.

Truth #1: Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery is Extremely Effective

The shoulder, like the hip, is considered a “ball-and-socket” joint, which means that it is made up of the top of a large bone (ball) that fits into the groove of a flatter bone (socket). In the case of the shoulder joint, the ball is the top of the arm bone and the scapula, in which the top of the arm bone rests, is the socket. 

During total shoulder replacement surgery, metal implants are used to stabilize and reconstruct the damaged joint. The top of the arm bone is removed a half-moon shaped implant (the new “ball”) with a long stem is added. The long stem is anchored into the arm bone for long term stability and the surgery also involves the use of a plastic socket that is cemented into the shoulder blade.

With a freshly cleaned out joint and new, high grade prosthetic pieces, the seamless “gliding” feel of a natural shoulder joint can be realized for the patient once again.

Truth #2: The Procedure Can Be a Solution for a Variety of Conditions

If a patient’s shoulder joint is stiff, sore or is unable to move in the normal capacity (for example, reaching and stretching are difficult), then it’s time to see a qualified shoulder specialist who can properly diagnose and treat shoulder pain. While some people experience the recurrence of their shoulder “popping out of socket,” dislocation of the shoulder is only one potential condition that may lead to pain and could require a shoulder replacement.
Among the other potential causes for a total shoulder replacement surgery are:

The Lie: It Doesn’t Matter Where You Go for Your Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Patients may be tempted to consider the closest orthopedic surgeon as being the best, most convenient option for this procedure. However, the choice of care provider is a vital one and should be made very carefully. Sometimes, convenience is sacrificed to ensure that a patient can be seen by a highly credible surgeon within a team or program that has a history of thousands of past successful surgeries.
And that’s exactly what patients get when they see the shoulder specialists at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute.  Our top orthopedic program is known nationally for skill and advancements in shoulder replacements. Tri-state area patients will be glad to know that Rothman has over 20 offices throughout the region. Now you can have the best of both worlds - convenience and excellent care! For more information, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

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