The following is designed to present an overview of total shoulder replacement surgery. Because each patient is an individual, please be assured that certain aspects of your care may be altered according to your needs and the wishes of your orthopedic surgeon.
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint similar to the hip joint, but with much greater mobility. It is composed of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments which all work together to provide stability and movement. (See diagram) The clavicle (collar bone) attaches to the rib cage and helps hold the shoulder out, away from the mid-body. The clavicle connects with the large, flat triangular bone, the scapula (shoulder blade) at the acromion. The rounded head of the humerus (arm bone) rests against the socket in the scapula.
HOW IS THE SHOULDER REPLACED?
In a total shoulder replacement a metal ball replaces the humeral head and a polyethylene cup replaces the glenoid socket. (See diagram) The primary indication for a total shoulder replacement is pain which does not respond to conservative treatment. Pain may be due to abnormalities and changes in the joint surfaces as a result of arthritis, avascular necrosis or abnormalities due to trauma or fractures. The primary goal of total shoulder replacement surgery is to relieve pain with secondary goals of improving motion, strength and function.
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