Shoulder replacement surgery or other joint replacements are surgical procedures in which the worn, damaged surfaces of the joint are removed and replaced with new, artificial parts. Your doctor may consider a joint replacement if you have severe pain which limits daily activities and is not relieved with medications, injections, physical therapy, or other treatments.
The goal of the surgery is to relieve pain and restore the alignment and function of your joint. Joint replacement provides the most dramatic relief of arthritis pain available to patients.
Traditionally, joint replacement has been an inpatient surgical procedure. With the introduction of minimally invasive techniques, modern pain relief protocols, improved anesthetic techniques, and rapid rehabilitation, surgeons can perform total joint replacement procedures on an outpatient basis.
Outpatient shoulder replacement surgery is the same as traditional shoulder joint replacement, but the patient can go home on the same day of surgery. This allows patients to recover in the comfort of their own homes instead of overnight in a hospital.
With outpatient shoulder replacement, patients are provided with the support of a visiting nurse and follow-up rehabilitation services. Patients can often return to normal activities quicker and with less pain than with traditional joint replacement surgery.
Advantages of outpatient shoulder replacement surgery include:
The “ball” or humeral head (upper arm bone) is replaced with a titanium or metal alloy ball. The “socket” or glenoid of the scapula is resurfaced or replaced with a special polyethylene piece. These pieces mimic the normal anatomy of the shoulder and are fitted specifically to each patient.
The socket and ball are switched. The metal ball is fixed to the socket or glenoid and the plastic cup is fixed to the humeral head. In doing this, the patient would then use the deltoid muscle instead of the rotator cuff to power and position the arm. The Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty procedure is advised in people with a severe rotator cuff tear, severe arthritis with rotator cuff tearing, or a previous standard shoulder replacement that has failed. This repair is not designed for heavy use and may have more long-term restrictions.
Only the humeral head is replaced.