According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, about 53,000 people in the U.S. have shoulder replacement surgery each year. But for some patients, traditional shoulder replacement may not be an option.
In a traditional shoulder replacement, the ball of the humerus is replaced with a metal ball and the glenoid cavity of the shoulder blade (scapula) is replaced with a plastic socket. The shoulder then operates as normal, relying on the support of the rotator cuff.
However, if the rotator cuff has suffered prior damage, then even after a traditional replacement, the shoulder may not function properly and can continue to experience pain and limited motion.
Reverse total shoulder replacement is an advanced procedure that was specifically designed to treat those patients who are not candidates for traditional shoulder replacement surgery due to rotator cuff tear arthropathy. Rotator cuff tear arthropathy is a condition in which both shoulder arthritis and a rotator cuff tear are present.
Thankfully, with the option of reverse shoulder replacement, individuals who would not be a candidate for traditional shoulder replacement can experience relief from pain and a return of shoulder function.
The benefits of reverse shoulder replacement include:
Joint Stabilization – Rotator cuff tears and arthritis weaken the shoulder joint causing pain, loss of motion, and instability. With reverse shoulder replacement, the joint is strengthened and stabilized.
Support from other muscles – With reverse shoulder replacement, the new ball and socket placement are reversed. This reversal results in the shoulder relying on the large deltoid muscle rather than the rotator cuff for support and motion.
An alternative option – Reverse Shoulder replacement is a treatment option for those that would not benefit from traditional shoulder replacement. A reverse replacement may be indicated in those with rotator cuff tears and arthritis, traditional shoulder replacement failure, or consistent dislocations of the shoulder.
Reverse shoulder replacement is an advanced, technical procedure and should be performed by an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in shoulder care.
If you are not a candidate for traditional shoulder replacement due to rotator cuff tear arthropathy or a previous shoulder replacement, then reverse shoulder replacement may be an option for you. Make an appointment today to discuss your treatment options with Dr. Kevin Kruse.
Dr. Kevin Kruse is a board-certified, fellowship-trained, orthopedic surgeon specializing in Shoulder injuries and arthroscopic Shoulder surgery in North Texas.