You have most likely heard of replacement surgeries for the hip or knee, but have you ever heard of shoulder replacement surgery? Like the hip and knee, the shoulder is a joint that over time can stop functioning properly. If you have been having shoulder pain and face the possibility of getting the joint replaced, you may have some questions. Here are the answers to four common questions you may have when it comes to shoulder replacement surgery.
1. What Conditions Cause Shoulder Pain?
There are many types of conditions that lead to pain in the shoulder and cause this particular joint to become disabled. Some of the more common conditions include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Rotator cuff tear arthropathy
- Avascular necrosis
- Severe fractures of the shoulder
All of these conditions cause severe pain and can become quite debilitating.
2. When Should Shoulder Replacement Surgery Be Considered?
If you have any of the above conditions, you may have already tried prescription drugs, physical therapy, or other types of surgeries. If you are still having pain, however, you may need to consider shoulder replacement surgery. This is especially true if your shoulder pain is interfering with your daily activities or if you are experiencing any loss of range of motion in your shoulder.
3. What Does Shoulder Replacement Surgery Involve?
Shoulder replacement surgery is often referred to as total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA) and involves replacing the damaged joint ball (the humeral head) with a metal ball and the shoulder socket gets fitted with a smooth plastic surface. If the rotator cuff doesn't work well, another type of surgery called reverse shoulder replacement might be an option.
Soon after the surgery, the patient can expect to begin physical therapy, which helps them to regain range of motion. Patients can normally begin using their arm and shoulder for light activity just six weeks after the surgery. It usually takes about six months before patients can expect to not feel any pain.
4. What Happens If the Shoulder Replacement Surgery Fails?
If you are considering shoulder replacement surgery, you need to be aware that there are instances it might not work. Some patients have even received faulty replacement devices, which have resulted in shoulder recall lawsuits. In previous types of shoulder replacement surgery, surgeons used metal-on-metal devices instead of metal-on-plastic, which increased the patient's chances of getting metal poisoning and caused other problems such as bone and tissue damage. Today, it is rare for shoulder replacement surgery not to work, but if it does fail, another surgery will most likely be necessary.