Your shoulder joint is a critical part of your upper extremity. Without it, you couldn’t possibly function well. While it is a strong joint, many people develop problems with it, especially as they age. As a result of lifelong use (and overuse) as well as injuries and some health conditions, you could end up with a seriously damaged shoulder joint that needs replacement.
Orthopedic surgeons perform two popular procedures for this problem, reverse shoulder replacement and total shoulder replacement. While both of these procedures are pretty similar, there are some differences you should consider when choosing between the two.
Total Shoulder Replacement
During a total shoulder replacement, your orthopedic surgeon removes the damaged portions of your shoulder joint, such as the humeral head and the glenoid cavity. Artificial components called prostheses replace the damaged parts during the surgery. During a total shoulder replacement procedure, the surgeon will attempt to replicate the existing anatomy to the best degree possible. As a result, once the shoulder heals, it will work the same way as it naturally did.
Reverse Shoulder Replacement
A reverse shoulder replacement strives to do the same thing as a total shoulder replacement, but there is a big anatomical difference. Instead of replacing the parts in the same format, they are replaced in a reverse position. As a result, once the shoulder heals, the deltoid muscle at the shoulder raises the arm.
While this is a new way of performing such a procedure (approved by the FDA in 2004), it is highly effective for a lot of people with complex shoulder conditions, such as a serious rotator cuff injury, that are not responsive to a traditional total shoulder replacement. A reverse shoulder replacement won’t change how the shoulder or arm look to the naked eye. The arm will move seamlessly as it once did, but the internal components at work will just be different.
The recovery process for both surgeries is similar. You may need to stay at the hospital for a few days following surgery to be monitored and to get rehabilitation help from a therapist. Once you return home, you will need to rest and recover. After some time, you will begin physical therapy to strengthen your shoulder and arm, boost recovery, reduce pain symptoms, and increase mobility. Regardless of which procedure you get done, rehabilitation and physical therapy are critical to its success.
The recovery period for both procedures will be lengthy, lasting several weeks to months. During recovery, you will routinely visit a physical therapist and your surgeon to check on your progress.
Reverse Shoulder Replacement and Total Shoulder Replacement in Delray Beach, FL
Dr. Steve Meadows, MD is an experienced surgeon who is highly experienced in performing total shoulder replacement and reverse shoulder replacement procedures. He has a passion for helping patients go from limited mobility and pain to living their best life.
Make an appointment today by calling 561-496-6622 and see how we can help you get relief. You may also schedule an appointment through our online contact form.