If you’ve experienced a shoulder injury recently and you are living with pain, surgery may be required depending on the type and severity of your shoulder injury. When thinking about shoulder replacement surgery, here are a few things you should know: 

How common is shoulder replacement surgery? 

Shoulder replacements are less common than knee or hip replacements, but more than 50,000 are still performed each year. The benefits, however, are the same potential benefits as other total joint replacements

What are the benefits of shoulder replacement surgery?

  • Restoration of movement: After undergoing a shoulder replacement, the ability to rotate your arm in every direction can be, often, fully restored. This helps each patient accomplish simple things they were unable to do prior to having a shoulder replacement.
  • Pain-free living: Often, patients who seek a total shoulder replacement have pain that keeps them from doing the basics of daily living like brushing their teeth, sleeping, etc.

What kinds of shoulder replacement surgeries are there?

In shoulder replacement surgery, the artificial shoulder joint can have either two or three parts, depending on the type of surgery required.

  • A Partial Shoulder Joint Replacement: only the ball of the shoulder gets replaced.
  • A Total Shoulder Joint Replacement: both the ball and the socket get replaced.
  • A Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement: the ball and socket parts of the shoulder joint switch sides. This means their natural position is reversed. 

How Long Will an Artificial Shoulder Joint Last?

As successful as most of these procedures are, over the years, artificial joints can become loose and unstable or wear out, requiring a revision (repeat) surgery. Many factors determine the outcome, including:

  • Age
  • Activity level
  • Bone strength
  • Bone quality
  • Disease progression

What happens before my surgery?

Before shoulder replacement, Dr. Hicken will consider other options such as injections or physical therapy. If it is determined that surgery is necessary, he may ask you a few questions to gauge the level of replacement you need. Here are some of the questions he might ask:

  • Where is your pain located?
  • When did the pain first begin and what caused it?
  • Rank your pain on a scale of 1 to 5.
  • Has the pain gotten worse recently? If so, does it occur more often?
  • Which activities make your pain worse?

After understanding your pain, Dr. Hicken will complete a thorough evaluation of your case. While every orthopaedic evaluation is different, there are many commonly used tests that an orthopaedic surgeon may consider in evaluating a patient’s condition. These are just a few of things Dr. Hicken might do to determine if you are a candidate for shoulder replacement:

  • MRI/Xrays
  • Physical examination
  • Medical history examination
  • Additional tests as determined

If you have any other questions regarding shoulder replacement, give us a call at 435-787-2000.