One day you’re out playing a round of golf only to find that after your first swing, your shoulder is in severe pain. When you see your doctor about it, he or she suggests shoulder surgery.

Each year about 53,000 people in the U.S. undergo shoulder replacement surgery. Shoulder replacement surgery was first performed in 1950. Since then, with advances in medicine, shoulder replacement surgery has had a high success rate.

Many of the physicians participating in the Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center perform joint replacement surgery including shoulder replacement.  So when is it time to consider shoulder replacement surgery? First, a quick lesson about the working parts of the shoulder.



The shoulder offers the most range of movement of any joint in the body. It is made up of your upper arm bone, shoulder blade, and collarbone. All three connect with muscles and tendons that help support the shoulder. The shoulder is commonly referred to as a ball-and-socket joint. This term explains how the head of the shoulder fits into a shallow hole in your shoulder blade.

Shoulder Surgery

When something disrupts the joint or muscles, it can be painful. Ignoring shoulder aches and pains will only work for so long. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers is not a long-term solution, either.

First, your doctor will perform a routine evaluation. They will need an x-ray and possibly some other tests. After your doctor has reviewed your test results, they may suggest one of the following surgeries:

Partial Shoulder Replacement

A partial shoulder replacement is when a metal implant replaces just the upper arm bone (humerus). The rest of the shoulder joint is left intact. Typically, those with a fractured humerus or those with severe arthritis will have this surgery.

Total Shoulder Replacement or Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

Total shoulder replacement surgery also called total shoulder arthroplasty involves replacing the arthritic joint surfaces. The standard shoulder replacement surgery is used when arthritis has occurred from wear and tear on the shoulder. With this procedure, the patient still has use of their original ligaments and tendons but the arthritic joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint. This eliminates the bone-on-bone grinding in the shoulder.

Reverse Shoulder Replacement

Reverse shoulder replacement is used when the patient doesn’t have good use of their shoulder due to chronic rotator cuff tears.  A reverse shoulder replacement is when the socket and metal ball are switched. This procedure is called a ‘reverse procedure’ and it changes the dynamics and force on the shoulder just enough to bypass the injured rotator cuff. This allows the patient to use the bigger muscles – the deltoid, latissimus dorsi (lats) and pectoral – that are located around the shoulder to have a functional shoulder again.”


Usually physical therapy is suggested after a shoulder replacement surgery. Your physical therapist will teach you strengthening exercises. You may use resistive bands or weights to help ease you back into using your shoulder like you did before. Some exercises may include simple tasks like tucking in your shirt. Be patient and take the recovery process slow and easy.

If you would like to know more about physicians who perform shoulder surgery, contact the friendly staff at the Texas Health Spine & Orthopedic Center for an appointment with a participating physician today.

Disclaimer: Physicians who are members of the referral program practice independently and are not employees or agents of THSOC. Individual results vary so visit with your physician.