What is a Total Shoulder Replacement?

Article featured on Orthopaedic Institute Brielle Orthopaedics

Total shoulder replacement is a surgical procedure that treats severe shoulder osteoarthritis that does not respond to nonsurgical treatment options.

At The Orthopaedic Institute Brielle Orthopaedics our Shoulder Specialists have extensive experience and utilize the latest technology in performing shoulder replacement procedures.

The procedure is effective because it removes osteoarthritic bone and cartilage and replaces it with functional metal and plastic components that serve as a “new shoulder”. After recovery and physical therapy, patients experience tremendous pain relief and live normal lives with minimal restrictions.

Important procedure steps are:

  1.  Anesthesia. A Board Certified Anesthesiologist administers general anesthesia so no pain or discomfort is felt during the procedure.
  2. Incision. A small incision is made on the front of the shoulder. Muscles and soft tissues are retracted so the joint can be visualized.
  3. Bone preparation. The head of the humerus (arm bone) and glenoid cavity are carefully cut in preparation of implants.
  4. Trial implants. Trial implants are placed in the shoulder until the perfect size is found. A physical examination confirms the implants fit and the shoulder moves properly.
  5. Permanent implants. Biological cement is placed over the bones and permanent metal and plastic implants are put in place. Once the cement hardens, an additional physical examination is performed.
  6. Incision closure. Sutures and skin staples close the incision and sterile dressings cover it. A shoulder sling is put on to keep the shoulder in a neutral position.

Total procedure time is usually 1 hour depending on osteoarthritis severity and shoulder anatomy.

A short hospital stay is necessary for pain management, infection prevention and physical therapy purposes. In some cases, a partial total replacement (one bone is replaced) or reverse total shoulder (implant positions are reversed) replacement are performed.

It is always best to receive a shoulder osteoarthritis diagnosis as soon as possible. Early treatment relieves symptoms and prevents the chronic condition from becoming worse.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.