Arthritis or injury can also damage the shoulder joint preventing a person from lifting their arm. In severe cases, the only treatment available is shoulder joint replacement surgery. Southern Bone & Joint Specialists performs both “shoulder replacement” and “reverse shoulder replacement” surgery. Shoulder replacement surgery has been around since the 1950s and was originally used for severe fractures, but because of its success, it has since been broadened to address arthritis. Today, about 23,000 people in the U.S. have shoulder replacement surgery. Patients with bone-on-bone contact are typically good candidates for shoulder replacement surgery, where an artificial ball and socket joint is installed into the shoulder.
Reverse shoulder replacement is another variation that was developed in the 1980s. This is used for those with completely torn rotator cuffs or have had a shoulder replacement surgery that did not relieve symptoms or restore motion significantly. In reverse shoulder replacement surgery, the position of the ball and socket are “reversed” where the ball is applied to the shoulder and the plastic socket is attached to the upper arm. This enables the person to lift the arm using a different muscle than the rotator cuff.