Total Shoulder Replacement is becoming a much more common surgery than it was a few years ago. New implant designs, surgical techniques, and biomaterials are leading to better results. The shoulder joint is a very complex joint, controlled by many muscles. It is inherently unstable, and that is what gives it such a remarkable range of motion. The shoulder is very much more dependent on soft tissues than other joints like the knee and hip.
The best indication for shoulder replacement is for the relief of pain. We will do a “hemiarthroplasty” on younger patients who still want to do heavy lifting or sports. The hemiarthroplasty only replaces the metal “ball” of the humerus, and leaves the socket bone in place without a plastic glenoid component. The thin plastic is the most vulnerable to wear and loosening in active younger patients.
If you have shoulder pain and stiffness from arthritis, avascular necrosis, or prior trauma, you should see a qualified and well trained shoulder surgeon and see if shoulder replacement can help you become more functional. Rehabilitation after shoulder replacement is a bit easier than hip and knee replacement surgery, as we let you use the arm immediately for simple tasks (like feeding yourself), and you do not need to walk on your hands after the surgery.