What is the New Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery?
- Posted on: Aug 29 2014
Many of those suffering from chronic shoulder pain, arthritis and other conditions often turn to total joint replacement to help alleviate the pain. However, the traditional techniques and technology used in this procedure does not benefit patients with torn rotator cuffs as effectively as many orthopedic surgeons would prefer. Now, there is a new type of total shoulder replacement surgery that is “reversed,” relying on different muscles of the arm for use and function. This allows patients who have significant arthritis and rotator cuff injuries to heal more thoroughly and successfully, and maintain a significant range of motion.
What’s the difference between traditional shoulder replacement and reverse shoulder replacement surgery?
Traditional shoulder joint replacements imitate human anatomy of the shoulder. This replacement consists of a surgical grade plastic cup that poses as the shoulder socket, and a metal ball that is affixed to the top of the humurus, or upper arm bone. This traditional fix for extreme shoulder joint deterioration and pain fixed arthritic issues, but offered little to no healing for those who had significant rotator cuff injuries as this type of joint replacement still relies on the muscles of the rotator cuff in order to move the arm.
The reverse shoulder replacement does not rely on the rotator cuff muscles to power the arm, but rather the deltoid muscle. The deltoid muscle is located on the outer top of the shoulder joint where the shoulder meets the arm. Because the new joint replacement relies on this muscle for functionality of the arm, the muscles and tendons that are beyond repair concerning the rotator cuff are unnecessary. If the rotator cuff is not used, pain will not continue for patients suffering from extreme rotator cuff injury, called rotator cuff arthropathy.
Who is a good candidate for reverse shoulder replacement surgery?
Your orthopedic surgeon will determine if reverse shoulder replacement surgery is right for you through a physical exam and imaging results. In general, patients best served by a reverse joint replacement have:
- A severed rotator cuff that is beyond repair
- Tried conservative and alternative methods to healing
- Extreme shoulder pain
- Difficulty lifting arm away from the body or over head
Results from reverse shoulder replacement surgery are generally very good, and patient satisfaction runs higher than traditional shoulder joint replacement methods.
Reverse Shoulder Joint Replacement in Worcester
For more information on treatment for shoulder injuries, contact us today. Our offices are located in Worcester, proudly serving the surrounding areas. Schedule your appointment today at (508) 363-6363. We hope to hear from you soon.