Reverse Shoulder Replacement

Reverse shoulder replacement is recommended for patients who have large rotator cuff tears and cuff tear arthropathy. Cuff tear arthropathy is a complex type of shoulder arthritis.

Standard shoulder replacement surgery is not as beneficial for these patients because their rotator cuff muscles can no longer help position and power the arm during range of motion. As a result, standard shoulder replacement surgery, which relies on the rotator cuff muscles to move the arm, would not be successful. Patients would just experience pain and limited motion. Therefore, reverse shoulder replacement surgery works better for these patients because it relies on different muscles to move the arm.

Reverse Shoulder Implant Surgery

When a patient has conventional shoulder replacement surgery, a plastic cup is fitted into the shoulder socket (glenoid), and a metal ball is attached to the top of the upper arm bone (humerus). As the name implies, the socket and metal ball are switched in reverse shoulder replacement surgery. The metal ball is fixed to the socket, and the plastic cup is fixed to the upper end of the humerus. In this procedure, the deltoid muscle becomes the power source of the shoulder, not the rotator cuff muscles, as is so with standard shoulder replacement surgery. (In the standard procedure, the rotator cuff muscles help position and power the arm for motion.) 

The shoulder can work well with reverse shoulder replacement surgery even if the rotator cuff is torn or not working.

Ideal Candidates for Reverse Shoulder Replacement

As mentioned previously, reverse shoulder replacement surgery is often recommended for patients with large, irreparable rotator cuff tears and significant shoulder arthritis (cuff tear arthropathy). Reverse shoulder replacement is also recommended for patients who have had:

  • A complex fracture of the shoulder joint
  • A previous unsuccessful standard shoulder replacement
  • Severe shoulder instability and bone loss in older patients
  • A tumor of the shoulder joint

Reverse Shoulder Replacement Consultation

During your consultation at OrthoMed, your surgeon will discuss your medical history and your shoulder symptoms. He will also conduct a thorough physical exam and review your imaging studies with you.

If you are a candidate for reverse shoulder replacement surgery, your surgeon will help you plan and prepare for your surgery. 

Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery in Modesto, CA

If you have any questions about reverse shoulder replacement surgery or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic surgeons, please call OrthoMed at (209) 524-4438. You may also request an appointment online.

Reverse Shoulder Replacement FAQs

What should you expect after reverse shoulder replacement surgery?

After surgery, your arm will be placed in a sling to protect your arm from further injury. You will be able to use your operative shoulder for limited activities of daily living involving gentle movement. Keep in mind that you will need to take things easy for a few weeks. 

Your doctor will recommend cold therapy to help with postoperative pain. He will also prescribe pain medication for your use within the first couple of days after surgery. Use them as directed by your doctor.

Are there any aftercare instructions to follow after reverse shoulder replacement surgery?

After surgery, follow these aftercare instructions:

  • Take it very easy for the first few days after surgery; expect to feel tired and achy.
  • Lift only light objects like a coffee cup or cell phone. You should avoid lifting anything heavier than 2-3 pounds for the first 6 weeks.
  • Practice passive motion exercises where you are using your opposite hand to move your operative shoulder. This will help prevent your shoulder from getting stiff. 

What is the success rate for reverse shoulder replacement surgery?

Reverse shoulder replacement surgery has a very high rate of success. A majority of patients report tremendous pain relief, and patient satisfaction is typically very high. 

Most patients regain the ability to reach overhead and use their shoulder functionally for daily activities.

Are there any complications associated with reverse shoulder replacement surgery?

The risks for reverse shoulder replacement are similar to those of a standard shoulder replacement. These risks include:

  • Infection
  • Fracture around the prosthesis
  • Loosening of the prosthesis from the bone
  • Wearing away of the bone due to repeated contact with the prosthesis (this is called “notching” and is unique to reverse shoulder surgery)
  • Dislocation of the joint replacement
  • Injury to a blood vessel or nerve
  • Blood clot (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE) after surgery

1335 Coffee Road Suite #101
Modesto, CA 95355

Phone: (209) 524-4438

Monday through Friday
8:00 am - 5:00 pm

About Us
OrthoMed Center aims to be the preferred provider of high-quality musculoskeletal care to the people of Modesto. We provide cutting-edge medical care while also ensuring we treat patients and their families with the utmost compassion as they find their way back to good health.
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