Total shoulder replacement surgery helps restore comfort and function to shoulders that have suffered long-term wear and tear. This wear and tear often occurs due to degenerative joint diseases such osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Total shoulder replacement surgery, works by removing the damaged parts of the shoulder and replacing them with prosthetic components, which allow the shoulder to function normally again.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, over 53,000 people in the U.S. have shoulder replacement surgery each year. Although this figure pales in comparison to the more than 900,000 Americans who have knee and hip replacement surgery, shoulder joint replacement is just as successful in relieving joint pain.

If nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy, medication, and changes in lifestyle are no longer effective at relieving your shoulder pain, it may be time to consider total shoulder replacement surgery. Contact Dr. Ahluwalia today to speak with a shoulder replacement expert. Our number is 310.430.1310.

What Causes Degeneration of the Shoulder Joint?

Several diseases and disorders can compromise the function of the shoulder joint. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Traumatic arthritis occurring after injury or accident
  • Arthritis due to rotator cuff disease
  • Septic arthritis following infection
  • Avascular necrosis of the humeral head

Distinguishing Shoulder Arthritis from Similar Disorders

Before treating shoulder arthritis, it must be distinguished from other diseases and disorders of the shoulder that can cause similar symptoms. Rotator cuff tears, adhesive capsulitis (i.e. frozen shoulder), and neck conditions can all cause similar symptoms.

Rotator cuff tears also cause pain and weakness, but stiffness is less common. Adhesive Capsulitis may cause shoulder stiffness, but it will not show the degenerative changes of arthritis on x-ray. Neck conditions can also cause shoulder pain and weakness, but specific head motions that result in worse pain differentiate it from shoulder arthritis.

Who Needs Total Shoulder Replacement?

Shoulder replacement surgery is usually considered for a variety of reasons. These include:

  • Shoulder pain is constant and severe
  • Symptoms prevent the patient from performing daily activities
  • Patient is sufficiently healthy to undergo the procedure
  • Symptoms have not responded to nonsurgical treatments
  • Enough bone and tendon exist to permit the surgery

How Total Shoulder Replacement Works

The total shoulder replacement procedure involves replacing the damaged arthritic parts of the joint with an artificial prosthetic implant. It begins with the administration of general or regional anesthesia for the patient’s comfort. Dr. Ahluwalia then makes an incision across the front of the shoulder to access the underlying joint without damaging the surrounding deltoid and pectoralis muscles. The muscles and tissues near the shoulder are mobilized by removing any scar tissue that may restrict their motion. The subscapularis tendon is cut so that the joint can be released the entire 360-degrees to restore its length and mobility. The arthritic head of the humerus is then replaced by a prosthetic implant. Any bone spurs seen in the joint are also removed to prepare the bone for the humeral prosthesis.

Once the prosthetic implants have been securely placed, the subscapularis tendon is reattached to the bone. The incisions are then closed a bandage is be applied as the healing and recovery process begins.

Recovery and Outlook after Total Shoulder Replacement

Recovery begins immediately following total shoulder replacement surgery. You will be monitored in a recovery room until the effects of the anesthesia wear off. Dr. Ahluwalia will then prescribe medication for pain and to prevent infection. He will also discuss light exercises that patients can use begin regaining range of motion and strength.

Total Shoulder Joint Replacement surgery is the most effective method for restoring comfort and function to shoulders damaged by severe arthritis. The outlook and results of the procedure are best when the patient follows a simple exercise program after surgery. Many patients state that the best benefits are being able to sleep on the affected shoulder without pain and the ability to perform their activities of daily living without pain. As long as the shoulder is cared for properly and subsequent injuries are avoided, the results of total shoulder replacement can last a lifetime.

If you think you may benefit from total shoulder replacement, don’t wait. Contact Dr. Ahluwalia today!

Don’t Suffer

From Shoulder Pain Any Longer