What is Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery and When Is It Necessary?
Most people don’t give their shoulders a second thought. That is, until they injure them, experience stiffness, pain, or discomfort. And yet, like all other joints, it is there to facilitate movement and allow us to perform many everyday tasks. It’s a complex joint, composed of a variety of tendons, bones, and muscles. The shoulder allows for some pretty extraordinary movements, from handstands to flips, pushups, swimming strokes, and more. Sandy Koufax, Babe Ruth, Michael Phelps, and other countless legendary athletes would not be where they are without the power of the shoulders!
You don’t have to be a world famous athlete, however, to appreciate the necessity of this joint. Without functional shoulders, our arms would lack dynamic movement and range of motion. People who suffer from arthritis or shoulder injury have seen tremendous benefits from total shoulder replacement surgery and bounced back to an active and healthy lifestyle.
The Basics of Shoulder Anatomy
As one of the largest and most complex joints in the body, the shoulder has many working parts. There is the posterior and the anterior part of the shoulder; it is where the humerus fits into the scapula like a ball and socket. There are about eight muscles that attach to the scapula, humerus, and clavicle. Ligaments connect the bones and tendons connect muscles to the bone. The rotator cuff is four muscles and tendons that surround, support, and provide motion for the shoulder.
Common Injuries of the Shoulder
Even though it is incredibly resilient, there are many ways to injure this complex joint. Some of the common injuries and shoulder conditions include:
- Shoulder Impingement: A part of the scapula presses on the rotator cuff when the arm is lifted. When inflammation occurs this can cause severe pain.
- Labral Tear: A tear to the cartilage that surrounds the socket of the joint. This can be caused by strenuous and repetitive overhead motions such as when playing baseball or volleyball and swimming.
- Osteoarthritis: This is caused by the common ‘wear and tear’ and can develop over time.
- Rotator Cuff Tear: This is a tear in the rotator cuff caused by repetitive and overhead movement, or trauma. It can be rather painful and lead to a reduced range of motion and stiffness.
How Do I Know If I Need Total Shoulder Replacement?
The first sign that you might require surgical intervention is the experience of consistent pain and limited range of motion. Injuries or conditions that commonly require the surgery include severe arthritis, a bad rotator cuff tear, or a bad fracture.
What Does Surgery Look Like?
About 53,000 people get the surgery every year. Total shoulder replacement arthroplasty is a well-established surgery for restoring comfort, mobility, and function. The procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia, so the patient is unconscious. In this procedure, the ball of the shoulder is replaced with a metal ball and stem. The stem is inserted into the humerus (long bone in the upper arm) and fitted into place.
Ready to Learn More?
Sun City Orthopaedic understands that shoulder replacement may seem intimidating. But if you’ve been suffering from shoulder pain, this surgery can have a profound effect on your life and your ability to perform your daily activities. Simply put, this surgery offers relief. A pain-free life is possible!
We’re here to provide you with the information you need so that you feel comfortable about your options. Don’t put off treatment any longer, it can make matters worse and make recovery more difficult. Give us a call today.