Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement is a type of shoulder replacement surgery in which the original shoulder joint is removed and replaced with a prosthetic. It is used as an alternative procedure for patients who would receive less benefit from traditional shoulder replacement surgery. Reverse shoulder replacement is commonly used for patients with:

  • Completely torn rotator cuffs and severe arm weakness
  • Severe symptoms related to arthritis and rotator cuff tearing
  • A previous shoulder replacement that was unsuccessful

For individuals with the conditions listed above, a conventional total shoulder replacement may still leave them with pain as well as limited range of motion and reduced strength. With reverse total shoulder replacement, a prosthetic ball is attached to the shoulder bone while a plastic socket is attached to the upper arm bone. This allows the patient to use the deltoid muscle instead of the torn rotator cuff to lift the arm.

A study conducted by the University of California-Davis, published by the National Library of Medicine, discovered that the number of shoulder replacement procedures, particularly total shoulder replacements, is growing faster than ever. The rising frequency of reverse total arthroplasty is considered a key part of the increase in overall shoulder replacement surgeries.

To learn more about reverse total shoulder replacement or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ahluwalia, contact us today.

How Is Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement Different?

In the healthy shoulder, the upper arm bone (humerus) has a ball shaped head that fits into the glenoid socket. This is why the shoulder is often referred to as a “ball and socket” joint. The standard total shoulder replacement procedure retains the normal anatomy of the shoulder: a prosthetic “cup” is implanted into the glenoid socket, and a prosthetic “ball” is attached to the top of the humerus.

In reverse total shoulder replacement, however, the anatomy of the shoulder is reversed by switching the socket and ball. The prosthetic ball is implanted in place of the socket and the plastic cup is fixed to the upper end of the humerus. This allows the patient to use the deltoid muscle instead of the damaged portion of the shoulder to lift the arm. The result is a reduction in pain as well as improved range of motion and strength in the shoulder joint.

Candidates for Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement in Beverly Hills

Candidates are most commonly elderly patients with end stage rotator cuff tear arthropathy that is complicated by shoulder instability. These patients often suffer from several key characteristics. These include:

  • A completely torn rotator cuff that cannot be repaired using other procedures
  • End stage rotator cuff tear arthropathy
  • Previous unsuccessful shoulder replacement surgery
  • Severe shoulder pain and difficulty performing activities of daily living
  • Unresponsive to nonsurgical treatments, including medication, cortisone injections, and physical therapy.

What Happens During Reverse Shoulder Replacement

Before the procedure, patients will be given anesthesia. This may be general anesthetic, regional anesthetic, or a combination of the two. General anesthetic puts the patient to sleep for the entire procedure, while regional anesthesia numbs the surgical area. During the procedure, Dr. Ahluwalia makes an incision in the shoulder that permits access the damaged area. The process of implanting the prosthetic generally takes around two hours.

Recovery from Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

Recovery from reverse total shoulder replacement surgery begins with the patient being monitored in a recovery room while the effects of the anesthesia wear off. Most patients stay in the hospital for 2-3 nights. During this time, Dr. Ahluwalia will prescribe medications to aid recovery, including pain medication and antibiotics. He will also discuss with patients how to begin restoring range of motion and strength until physical therapy begins. At this time, Dr. Ahluwalia will also discuss follow up evaluations and other postoperative instructions.

Outlook Following Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement in Beverly Hills

Reverse total shoulder replacement is an effective procedure that can help relieve the symptoms of end stage torn rotator cuff arthropathy. The benefits of this procedure include:

  • A dramatic improvement in range of motion and ability to perform daily activities.
  • Improvement from severe shoulder dysfunction to 90 to 100 degrees full elevation.
  • Restored range of motion, pain relief, and increased stability of the shoulder joint.

Contact Beverly Hills’ Leading Orthopaedic Surgeon Today

If you are interested in learning more about reverse total shoulder replacement, call 310.430.1310 today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Ahluwalia.

Don’t Suffer

From Shoulder Pain Any Longer