7 Seventh Avenue (11th street), 2nd floor, New York, NY 10011

Shoulder Replacement Surgery

What is shoulder replacement?

Shoulder replacement surgery repairs the damaged upper arm bone (humerus) and shoulder bone (scapula), which compose the shoulder joint. The ends of these bones are replaced with either artificial materials consisting of either plastic or metal. The materials used to replace your joint will be secured with special cement. The purpose of this procedure is to restore flexibility and stability to the damaged joint.

What are the different types of shoulder replacement surgery?

Shoulder replacement surgery is a highly technical procedure that can be performed several ways. The different types of shoulder replacement surgical procedures include:

  • Total shoulder replacement
  • Reverse total shoulder replacement
  • Stemmed Hemiarthroplasty
  • Resurfacing Hemiarthroplasty

For each of these procedures, anesthesia will be administered. General anesthesia is typically used, putting you into a deep sleep. Regional nerve blocks can also be used which, in addition to eliminate the sensation of pain, make you very sleepy.

The type of procedure used will depend on the extent of deterioration and damage present. In some cases, the entire joint is replaced. If the damage is not too severe, only the top of the humerus is replaced or resurfaced.

Why is shoulder replacement surgery performed?

Shoulder replacement surgery is recommended to ameliorate the following issues:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Severely damaged or torn connective tissues in the shoulder
  • Bones that are badly broken in the joint
  • Previous shoulder surgery that was not successful
  • Tumor in the joint tissues

Many of the issues that signal the need for shoulder replacement cause severe pain and discomfort. A person in need for shoulder replacement has limited mobility in his or her shoulder.  Your surgeon will evaluate your condition and determine if shoulder replacement is the appropriate approach to alleviate your symptoms and concerns.

What are the possible risks involved with shoulder replacement surgery?

Shoulder replacement surgery is a successful procedure that alleviates pain and stiffness of the joint, thus allowing you to partake in daily activities easier. With any surgical procedure, however, it is important to understand the risks involved.

Risks of having shoulder replacement surgery include:

  • Blood clots
  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia
  • Nerve damage
  • Infection
  • Fracture of the bones during surgery
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Dislocation of the artificial joint
  • Adverse reaction to the artificial joint

Replacement shoulder joints can last for at least 10 years if used properly. When making the decision to undergo shoulder replacement surgery, it is crucial to discuss any concerns you have with your surgeon and together determine if the procedure is the right choice for you.


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