The human shoulder is made of three bones – humerus (the upper arm bone), scapula (the shoulder blade) and clavicle (the collarbone). The head of humerus fits into glenoid (a round socket in the shoulder blade), and is held by muscles and tendons. Shoulder arthritis is a condition in which the cartilage covering the surface of the humeral head and glenoid depletes due to any reason. This leads to bone-on-bone rubbing between the joints, causing acute pain and stiffness, which may hamper the person’s inability to perform everyday tasks.

The Solution

Although shoulder arthritis has no permanent cure, shoulder replacement surgery is an effective solution to treat the condition. It provides relief from pain and also restores the motion, function and strength of the shoulder. The goal of the procedure is to remove scar tissue, balance muscles and replace the damaged joint surfaces with artificial implants to improve  joint function. There are different types of shoulder joint replacement surgeries, and your doctor would recommend the best suitable procedure based on the type of arthritis, the condition of the bone, and severity of the problem. Let’s look at the options.

Types of Shoulder Replacement Surgeries for Arthritis:

Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

Total shoulder replacement surgery involves replacement of arthritic joint surfaces with a polished metal ball attached to a stem and plastic socket. The surgeon either cements the components or press-fits them into the bone. If a patient has strong bones, the surgeon may recommend the noncemented procedure. If the bone is soft, the surgeon might implant a humeral component with the bone cement. Total shoulder replacement is ideal for patients with intact rotator cuff tendons and bone-on-bone osteoarthritis.

Stemmed Hemiarthroplasty

When a surgeon replaces only the ball after examining the condition of the shoulder, the procedure is called hemiarthroplasty. A metal ball and stem, which are similar to components used in total shoulder replacement are used to replace the head of the humerus, which is called stemmed hemiarthroplasty. A patient with a severely fractured humerus head but a normal socket needs to undergo stemmed hemiarthroplasty.

Resurfacing Hemiarthroplasty

The procedure of resurfacing hemiarthroplasty involves replacing the joint surface of the humeral head with a cap-like component without a stem. The procedure has bone preserving advantage, which makes it ideal for patients with shoulder arthritis. If a patient has glenoid with intact cartilage surface or no fresh fracture of the head or humeral neck, resurfacing hemiarthroplasty may be an option.

Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

Reverse total shoulder replacement is performed to switch the socket and metal ball. A surgeon attaches a metal ball is attached to the shoulder bone and socket to the upper arm bone. The procedure is for patients with:

  • Completely torn off rotator cuffs that lead to severe arm weakness
  • Failed shoulder replacement surgery
  • Severe arthritis with tearing rotator cuff

Must Read: Ball-and-Socket: What Does Shoulder Surgery Involve?

Last Few Words

The primary goal of all types of shoulder replacement surgeries is providing relief from pain and restoring the function of the arm. Individuals who don’t get relief from non-surgical procedures might need to undergo a shoulder replacement procedure. Based on the dynamics involved, the doctor prescribes a suitable procedure to address the problem. If you wish to learn more about shoulder replacement surgery, schedule an appointment with one of the consultants at Texas Health Spine & Ortho by calling us at 1-888-608-4762 or filling out this online form.