The body has several joints to support limbs’ mobility. No other joint allows more motion than the shoulder joint. It enables the arm to make an arc-shaped motion. However, its anatomy also makes the shoulder joint less stable. When the shoulder region gets injured due to sports-related accidents, intense impact, or diseases, expert and immediate treatment is necessary. Severe cases of shoulder injuries require shoulder arthroplasty or shoulder replacement.
The shoulder has a complex anatomy and biomechanics. Shoulder arthroplasty is performed when components of the shoulder joint are damaged beyond repair. Expert orthopedic surgeons remove the affected parts of the shoulder joint and replace them with artificial parts (called prosthetics). Prosthetics are typically made of metal or plastic material. These prosthetics replace damaged parts of the shoulder and perform their jobs, allowing for restored functionality, more strength and flexibility, and less painful symptoms in the shoulder.
Here are some examples of conditions or injuries that warrant a shoulder arthroplasty:
- Osteoarthritis. Also called degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is a common chronic disease of the joints. It causes the cartilage cushioning in the shoulder’s joint to deteriorate which warrants a shoulder arthroplasty. Older people commonly experience this type of arthritis.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis. The immune system defends the body from foreign substances like viruses and bacteria. Sometimes, however, the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own joints. This happens when you have an autoimmune disease called rheumatoid arthritis. It causes joints to swell up, become inflamed, and deteriorate. Rheumatoid arthritis can damage the joint’s cartilage and lead to severe joint deformation.
- Avascular Necrosis. Avascular necrosis occurs when the bone experiences loss of blood. This condition is also called osteonecrosis. Like other body parts, bones need blood to function correctly. Lack of blood flow to the shoulder bones can cause the bones to weaken and deteriorate.
- Broken Shoulder. An intense impact on the shoulder can lead to a fracture or a joint injury like a torn rotator cuff or a clavicle fracture. In extreme cases, deformities of the shoulder or arm region can appear. When these conditions cannot be managed through nonsurgical means, a shoulder arthroplasty may be necessary to fix the damage.
- Repeated Shoulder Dislocation. If a patient previously suffered from a shoulder dislocation, there is a possibility that they tore the healing ligaments and capsule. This condition is most common amongst adults. If you experience repeated shoulder dislocations, it may be a sign that something in the shoulder joint is wrong and needs replacement through a shoulder arthroplasty.
Orthopedic Clinic in Dover, New Jersey
Severe joint damage in the shoulder can be irreversible, but fortunately, a joint replacement procedure may be able to help you get past it. Get in touch with the experts at Orthopedic Associates of West Jersey to learn more about what a shoulder arthroplasty is and whether it may be able to help you with your shoulder pain. Our team of friendly experts can advise you to the best treatment for your condition. For inquiries, please call us at (973) 989-0888, or you may book an appointment online. We look forward to serving you.