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Good candidates for shoulder surgery find it hard to lift their arm over their head and experience severe shoulder pain. They also haven’t found success with non-surgical treatments like medications, rest and physical therapy.

Numerous types of shoulder surgeries are available. Three of the most common are total shoulder joint replacement surgery, partial shoulder replacement surgery and reverse shoulder replacement.

  1. Total shoulder replacement surgery: Your orthopedic shoulder surgeon replaces the ball at the end of your long upper arm bone (humerus) with a rounded, smooth metal implant. With total shoulder joint replacement surgery, your surgeon also removes the damaged cartilage and replaces the socket with a plastic prosthetic.
  2. Partial shoulder replacement surgery: Here, your surgeon leaves the socket of your shoulder joint intact, and replaces the upper bone in your arm with a metal prosthetic implant. Physicians also refer to partial shoulder replacement surgery as shoulder hemiarthroplasty.
  3. Reverse shoulder replacement surgery: With this surgery, your shoulder doctor reverses the shoulder’s normal structure. In reverse shoulder replacement surgery, Dr. Gomebera attaches the round metal implant to the shoulder blade (scapula) where the socket usually is, and then attach the artificial socket to the top of your humerus, where the ball usually is. This arrangement allows the deltoid muscles in your shoulder, which are typically fairly strong, to take on the work of moving your shoulder, which increases the joint stability.


Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery vs. Shoulder Replacement Surgery standard shoulder replacement vs. reverse shoulder replacement

When deciding on shoulder replacement, and whether you should have a total, partial or reverse shoulder replacement, a significant factor is how damaged your rotator cuff is.

For surgery to be a success, your rotator cuff needs to be in good condition for total or standard shoulder replacement surgery. You’ll experience a better outcome when there’s less damage to your rotator cuff.

If you have substantial damage because of a tear from an injury or severe arthritis, you might not be a good candidate for a total shoulder replacement surgery, but rather could be a more suitable candidate for reverse shoulder replacement surgery where your success falls on your deltoid muscles instead of your rotator cuff muscles. When you have persistent, severe shoulder osteoarthritis involving only the ball of the joint or humeral head, you might be a candidate for partial shoulder replacement. Here we will take a look at more information about reverse shoulder replacement surgery and shoulder replacement surgery.

How Do I Know When I’m Ready for a Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

If you have pain in your shoulder, limited function and difficulty sleeping, consider getting cortisone injections or taking arthritis medications. If you find the injections and medications don’t provide relief for your shoulder pain, then it is time to discuss a shoulder replacement, and whether it should be a partial or total shoulder replacement.

How Do I Know When I’m Ready for a Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

We may recommend a reverse shoulder replacement surgery if you have:

  • Cuff tear arthropathy
  • A totally torn rotator cuff that we can’t repair
  • A complex shoulder joint fracture
  • A previous unsuccessful shoulder replacement
  • A chronic shoulder dislocation
  • Difficulty lifting your arm over your head or away from your side and severe shoulder pain
  • A tumor of your shoulder joint
  • Have tried other methods of treatment like medications, rest, physical therapy or cortisone injections that haven’t relieved the pain in your shoulder
  • When Will I Start Experiencing Shoulder Pain Relief After My Shoulder Surgery?
  • Shoulder Pain Relief After Shoulder Surgery

When Will I Start Experiencing Shoulder Pain Relief After My Shoulder Surgery?

There’s some immediate change to your shoulder movement regarding being much smoother, but, for several weeks following your surgery, it’s more painful than before. At approximately two weeks after surgery, individuals begin getting over the “hump,” and it’s less painful than what it was before the procedure. Your pain should continue slowly decreasing. Most individuals are happy they had a shoulder replacement around a couple of months post-op.

Will I Have to Stay in the Hospital After My Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Yes. The typical stay is somewhere between 24 and 48 hours — 50 percent stay one day, while 50 percent stay two days. Rarely do patients stay longer than two days.

What’s the Hospital Stay Time After My Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Reverse shoulder replacement surgery typically takes around a couple of hours, but the preparation for the surgery and the postoperative recovery might add a few more hours on to this time. You could spend a couple of hours in the recovery room, and anywhere from two to five days after surgery in the hospital.

What Is the Shoulder Replacement Surgery Recovery Time?

Here is the total shoulder replacement protocol and what to expect after your shoulder replacement.

After your hospital stay, your recovery will involve the following.

1. Pain Management

Your shoulder will hurt and swell. We can prescribe you medication to help manage your pain. You can control the swelling with cold compresses.

2. Rehabilitation

We’ll put your arm in a brace at first to keep it from moving. After about a day or two, you may start physical therapy to help your new shoulder start working.

After you go home, you’ll continue physical therapy. You’ll perform certain exercises that will slowly improve the function of your new joint. Make sure you don’t rush things. It could take up to four weeks before you’re able to pick up objects heavier than a glass of water. However, limitations after shoulder replacement surgery are minimal.

For the majority of your recovery, your arm will be inside a sling. It could be six weeks or more before you can get behind the wheel of a car again.

You’ll have a few follow-up visits with your doctor during the year following your surgery so we can see how well your recovery is going.

Like with any procedure, the reverse shoulder replacement procedure also comes with certain risks. Some possible complications could include:

  • Infection
  • Blood vessel or nerve damage
  • Shoulder dislocation
  • Loosening of the artificial joint
  • Performing this surgery is a demanding surgery which only an experienced surgeon should perform. Although there are several cons with this procedure, there are many pros that outweigh any of the drawbacks for carefully selected individuals.

How Much Does Shoulder Replacement Surgery Cost?

Whether you’re looking for the shoulder replacement surgery cost or the cost for reverse shoulder replacement, the same rules apply — check with your insurance.

Because insurance coverage is a complex business that doesn’t have any fixed rules, be sure you contact your insurance provider regarding your proposed shoulder surgery specifics. Keep in mind that the hospital bill isn’t something we have control over, so you’ll need to direct your questions concerning hospital, anesthesia, laboratory and x-ray specifics to the billing office of the hospital.