Shoulder replacement is a surgical procedure in which a complete or some part of the glenohumeral joint (shoulder joint) is replaced by a prosthetic implant. This surgery is also known as shoulder arthroplasty. The shoulder is an example of a ball and socket joint. The upper arm has a round head (ball) that fits into a shallow cavity in the shoulder. A ball and socket joint helps in moving the arm up and down, back and forth or in rotation. Damage or infection in the shoulder joint leads to pain, stiffness and weakness. Prosthetic implants are available in different shapes and sizes to facilitate replacement.
Indications for shoulder replacement
Shoulder replacement is done to relieve pain due to damage to the shoulder joint.
The most common indications for shoulder replacement include-
Osteoarthritis- Also known as wear and tear arthritis. It damages the cartilage located at the end of the bones.
Irreparable rotator cuff tears- The rotator cuff consists of muscles that surround the shoulder joint. Injuries in rotator cuffs damage cartilage and bone in the joint.
Proximal humerus fractures- Fractures of the upper or proximal end of the humerus can require the need for replacement due to an injury or failure of fracture fixation as a result of surgery.
Inflammatory diseases and rheumatoid arthritis- These conditions are caused by irregularities in the immune system. Inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis deteriorates the cartilage and the bone in the shoulder joint.
5. Osteonecrosis- In this condition, osteoclasts or bone cells die due to a lack of blood supply.
Types of shoulder replacement
There are three types of shoulder replacement surgeries.
Total shoulder replacement- This is the most common type of surgery. The ball at the top of the humerus is replaced by a metal ball that gets attached to the remaining bone. The socket is covered with a new surface of the plastic.
Partial shoulder replacement- In this type, only the ball is replaced.
Reverse shoulder replacement- This replacement type is suggested when an individual has a torn or tear in the rotator cuff. It's also performed when other methods have failed. Here, the metal ball gets attached to the shoulder, and a socket is placed or implanted at the top of the arm.
Risk factors of shoulder replacement
It may happen that shoulder replacement may not decrease the pain or vanish completely in some cases. The surgery may not restore the full movement or strength of the shoulder joint. Therefore, the patient has to go with other surgical processes.
Risks of the shoulder replacement procedure include,
Dislocation- Chances are there that the replaced ball might come out of the socket.
Implant detachment- Though shoulder replacement implants are durable, they might detach due to loosening over time. In some cases, the patient may require another surgery to change the loose components.
Fracture- During or after the surgery, there are chances of humerus, scapula and glenoid fractures.
Rotator cuff failure- The shoulder surrounding muscles or rotator cuff can damage after a partial or total shoulder replacement.
Blood clots- After the surgery, clots can occur in the leg or arm veins. Clots are dangerous because if they break, a piece can travel anywhere in the body like in the brain, heart or lungs.
Nerve damage- Nerves at the site of an implant can damage during the process. This can cause weakness, numbness and pain.
Infection- Infections can occur in the deep muscles or at the site of the incision. Sometimes, surgeries are required to treat them.
Shoulder replacement procedure
At CARE Hospitals, we follow the given procedure for shoulder replacement.
Before the surgery
A series of post-operative tests are scheduled before the surgery. These include blood tests, electrocardiograms to evaluate the patient's heart electrical activity to make sure he is ready for the procedure. Further, patients are given instructions regarding the continuation or discontinuation of certain medicines.
During the procedure
The patient is given general anaesthesia and a nerve blocker intravenously to keep him relaxed during the process. General anaesthesia puts the patient in deep sleep. On the contrary, nerve blockers numb the shoulder so he can control pain in his conscious state. The surgery can last for one to two hours.
After the procedure
The patient rests in a recovery room for a short time after surgery. X-rays are taken out to check for any other complications. The patient should not move his shoulder until and unless he is told to do so. It should be kept stable. Further, postoperative hospital stay depends on the patients' requirements. Usually, most people can go home on the same day.
Shoulder replacement outcomes
Most people experience less pain after the surgery. Some of them might not have pain. This surgery improves the strength and the range of motion of the shoulder joint.
How can CARE Hospitals Help?
We at CARE Hospitals provide the treatment for joint-related problems including shoulder replacement. The surgery is performed under our best surgeons who use minimally invasive procedures for fast recovery. Our medical staff assist patients during the entire period of their treatment. We aim to provide the best medical facilities to our patients in order to improve their health.
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