The shoulder is a type of ball-and-socket joint, where the rounded top of the humerus (upper arm bone), appropriately called the humeral head, fits inside the shoulder socket (glenoid cavity of the scapula). It is held in place by the rotator cuff. The shoulder joint can perform an incredible range of motion, but it is due to that range of motion that shoulders get injured so frequently.
Depending on a person’s job, whether a painter or a pitcher or a factory worker, repetitive overhand motions can take their toll on the shoulder. Depending on the type of damage in the shoulder, the patient will have to choose between a reverse shoulder replacement or a second traditional replacement.
Differences Between Traditional and Reverse Shoulder Surgery
The difference between these two types of shoulder surgery is that the ball and socket are reversed in the reverse type of surgery. The ball and socket switch sides.
The humeral head at the top of the humerus is still replaced with a prosthetic, but the exception is that the socket will be attached to the top of the arm bone. The ball will thus be attached to the shoulder to give it tremendous stability.
Why Get a Reverse Shoulder Replacement?
Many times when a person has a shoulder issue, it stems from a torn ligament or tendon. If these are so extensively torn, they may no longer be attached to the bones via the rotator cuff. The loss of the rotator cuff can cause severe pain and virtually eliminates the shoulder’s range of motion.
A reverse prosthesis is held in place on the socket side of the arm, which holds it into the bone of the clavicle. The ball is attached to support the socket.
The metal prosthetic stem is placed into the humerus and secured with cement to help it remain in place. Then the plastic socket piece is “press fit” at the end of the stem and securely fastened in place by locking the metal piece.
Standard Shoulder Arthroplasty
A standard total shoulder replacement requires that the muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint be fully intact. The muscles attach to the shoulder blade, and tendons attach the muscles to the shoulder.
These muscles and their tendons function to move the shoulder and together comprise the rotator cuff. A traditional open shoulder replacement surgery is designed to work only if those tendons are intact and functioning. Otherwise, a reverse shoulder replacement might be your better option.
Why Consider Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty
If you have an older prosthetic shoulder that was implanted 10 to 20 years ago and it requires revision surgery, studies show that a reverse shoulder replacement is a much better option. The other main reason to have reverse surgery is if your rotator cuff is badly damaged and cannot be salvaged.
Orthopedic Shoulder Surgeon in Jersey
If you have shoulder pain, contact the experienced medical team at Orthopedic Associates of West Jersey today. You can call us at (973) 989-0888 or request an appointment online now, and find out what it is like to have full use of both arms again!