Total shoulder replacement is generally presented as a treatment option for patients suffering from joint dysfunction as a result of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or, in rare cases, a severe shoulder injury. Prior to surgery there is a conservative management period that involves physical therapy, cortisone injections, and oral medications to relieve the pain.
If those methods fail, a patient is considered for surgery. During the surgery, a small incision will be made on the front or top of the shoulder to access the shoulder joint.
“The head of the humerus or ‘ball’ of the joint will be removed and replaced with a round metallic implant, while the glenoid or ‘socket’ will be replaced with a new, plastic socket,” says Dr. Reuss. “This replaces the painful bone-on-bone rubbing a patient feels with a painless metal-on-plastic articulation.”