Orthopedics and trauma surgery
Chief Physician

Shoulder replacement

Professor MD Thomas Gösling

Chief Physician

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Shoulder replacement

Similar to hip, shoulder is ball-and-socket joint. It is considered the most flexible joint in the body and you may experience numerous problems with your shoulder. Though shoulder replacement is a last resort when other means does not help, there are many people go on surgery to improve their life quality degraded as result of joint diseases.

Shoulder Joint Problems

Among the many problems that may affect your shoulder the most common are:

  • Full-thickness rotator cuff tear. The condition causes permanent inflammations and spurs development.
  • Fractured head of the arm bone. Normally it caused by injury and may require surgery or joint replacement.
  • Osteoarthritis. This disease may severely damage the joint and surrounding tissues.
  • Reumatoid arthritis. It is inflammatory disease which change tissues chemistry and can result in damage of the joint.

The most of above disorders can be treated both with traditional methods and by surgery. When you are deciding on surgical intervention, you should consult with a specialist and maybe not the only one, as you need to have unbiased opinion. German orthopedists suggest surgery only when it is absolutely necessary but can perform it with highest skill.

Total Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder replacement

With total shoulder replacement the both arm head (a ball) and glenoid (socket) are replaced with implants. The ball together with stem is normally made of metal or porcelain and socket is plastic. The contraindications to glenoid replacement are:

  • good cartilage of glenoid,
  • severely damaged glenoid bone,
  • rotator cuff tendons are torn and are not able to be repaired.

If you have the both part of shoulder joint degraded you are eligible for total shoulder replacement.

The operation lasts for about 2 hours. The cut is made either on front or on top part of your shoulder. When opening the joint the surgeon, first, remove diseased bone and prepare the bone ends to attaching of the implant. Then he/she places the implant and fixes it with cement or by ‘press-fit’ method. What to choose depend on your bones condition and surgeon preferences. After attaching the artificial joint the doctor may close the wound and leave patient for recovery.

Partial Shoulder Replacement

With partial shoulder replacement or hemiarthoplasty only the ball (arm humeral head) is replaced with implant. This option is chosen when the patient has healthy glenoid. The procedure is similar to total replacement with the difference that it does not involve the other part of the shoulder joint. Sometimes only resurfacing of is done when humeral head are covered with a fitted cup.

The Reverse Shoulder Replacement

The ‘reverse’ prosthesis difference versus standard should joint implant is that it has a ball on the socket side. It is opposite to natural location that is why that implant has its name ‘reverse’. The advantage of this method is that it can be used when tendons normally holding the joint are degenerated. It is also applied when there are some fractures on shoulder.

The reverse prostheses are proved as good pain reliever. And another benefit that reverse implant helps to restore many kinds of movement lost during disease.

The most common (but not very often) complication is dislocation of the prosthesis that means that the two parts of the joint lose their connection.

Among the others complications you could name infections, appearing a groove in the bone, arm numbness and weakness, and others.

After the Procedure

You may say in the hospital 2-3 days after surgery and have pain relieving therapy. Before leaving hospital you may be instructed on exercising for improving your arm moving ability but you should keep your arm in sling and do not stretch up to 3 months. You may have physiotherapy, if your doctor prescribed. The total recovery after shoulder replacement is about six months.

Considering on Shoulder Replacement

When you consider on type of shoulder replacement you should keep in mind indications for surgery and possible complications and take into consideration you overall health and life activity. But you hardly can decide without consultation and examination with experienced doctor. Please make a call to Clinic of Braunschweig for consultation. Our specialists in centers of orthopedics and joint surgery will help you to design your treatment plan and answer all your questions. Please apply online.

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