Shoulder Replacement: When Is It Necessary?

Posted on

If you are experiencing recurrent severe shoulder pain that is affecting your daily activities, then you might need to undergo a shoulder replacement surgery. However, it is important for your physician to evaluate your shoulder problem before recommending the type of shoulder replacement you need.

The following are the three types of shoulder replacement:

  1. Partial replacement. This is done on the humerus bone, or upper-arm bone, instead of the shoulder socket. This process required the surgeon to remove the ball part of the humerus bone and use metal to replace it.

  2. Total replacement. This replacement is done to patients with osteoarthritis, and the surgeon replaces the damaged ball, as well as the socket, using plastic and metal. A successful surgery can result in improved movement and pain.

  3. Reverse replacement. This is ideal for people experiencing shoulder pain as a result of arthritis, or damage to the rotator cuff. In this procedure, the socket and ball positions are literally switched. Reverse shoulder replacement procedure depends on your deltoid muscle for shoulder and arm movement rather than your rotator cuff tendons.

So, when is shoulder replacement necessary?

Arthritis That Is Affecting the Shoulder Joint

Arthritis is a degenerative condition that causes pain and stiffness in a patient's shoulder joint. This happens to patients who are over 50 years old, and it happens because of the protective cartilage wearing down. First, the doctor might recommend anti-inflammatory treatment combined with non-surgical treatment procedures. However, if these don't relieve your pain or improve your shoulder mobility, your doctor can now recommend shoulder replacement. Research has revealed that many patients undergo this procedure because of osteoarthritis.


Some accidents can cause serious injuries, to the extent that the ball or head of your arm bone cannot be repaired. Most of these scenarios usually demand that the head of your arm bone be replaced. Your doctor, however, can recommend either total or partial shoulder replacement, but this depends on your clavicle's health. A shoulder joint replacement can help in stabilizing your shoulder joint, thus restoring its normal functionality.

Rotator Cuff Tear

This mostly happens when someone sustains an injury to the tissues that connect the muscle to bone around the upper arm. This injury causes severe pain in the shoulder area, which tends to worsen when the patient tries to sleep on the affected side.

The tissues that connect the muscle to the bone are very critical as they provide shoulder joint stability, and when this injury is left unaddressed for some time, it can cause arthritis. This, in turn, can demand a shoulder replacement, especially where the damage is beyond control.

If you have questions about shoulder surgery, speak with a medical professional.