What Is Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery?
Your shoulder is a ball and socket joint like your hip. The ball for the shoulder is on the humerus or upper arm bone, and the socket is in the shoulder blade or scapula.
Conventional shoulder replacement surgery uses an artificial joint, made of plastic and metal, that resembles and works much like your natural shoulder. It uses your same rotator cuff and other muscles and tendons.
In a reverse shoulder replacement, the ball is placed on the scapula, and the socket is attached on the humerus. It uses different muscles for support, like the deltoid, the muscle on top of the shoulder.
Why you may need reverse shoulder replacement surgery
Your shoulder replacement surgeon may use imaging procedures like CT, MRI, and X-ray to ensure the best treatment option.
If you have a large tear in your rotator cuff and significant osteoarthritis, reverse shoulder replacement may be your best option. People who may benefit most include those whose pain is not relieved by nonsurgical methods, like steroid injections or physical therapy. Reverse shoulder replacement surgery may work best for you if you have:
- Chronic shoulder dislocation
- Complex fracture of the shoulder joint
- A rotator cuff that is completely torn
- A tumor of the shoulder joint, such as chondroblastoma
- Difficulty raising your arm high without great pain
- Had a previous, unsuccessful shoulder replacement
- And unrepairable rotator cuff combined with arthritis (cuff tear arthropathy)
Reverse shoulder replacement surgery recovery time
Full recovery from reverse shoulder replacement surgery may take at least six months. You may spend one or two nights in the hospital after surgery. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy before surgery, as well as rehabilitation after surgery to ensure safe recovery of function.