Shoulder replacement is surgery to replace the bones of the shoulder joint with artificial joint parts.
Total shoulder arthroplasty; Endoprosthetic shoulder replacement; Partial shoulder replacement; Partial shoulder arthroplasty; Replacement - shoulder; Arthroplasty - shoulder
You will receive anesthesia before this surgery. Two types of anesthesia can be used:
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. The round end of the arm bone fits into the opening at the end of the shoulder blade, called the socket. This type of joint allows you to move your arm in most directions.
For total shoulder replacement, the round end of your arm bone will be replaced with an artificial stem that has a rounded metal head (ball). The socket part (glenoid) of your shoulder bone will be replaced with a smooth plastic lining (socket) that will be held in place with special cement. If only 1 of these 2 bones needs to be replaced, the surgery is called a partial shoulder replacement, or a hemiarthroplasty.
Another type of procedure is called reverse total shoulder replacement. In this surgery, the positions of the ball and socket are switched. The round part of the shoulder is removed from the top of the arm, and a metal ball is attached to the shoulder bone. The socket is then attached to the arm bone. The ball ends up on the other side of the shoulder. This surgery can be done when the rotator cuff tendons are severely damaged or there are fractures of the shoulder.
For shoulder joint replacement, your surgeon will make an incision (cut) over your shoulder joint to open up the area. Then your surgeon will:
Your surgeon may place a tube in this area to drain fluid that may build up in the joint. The drain will be removed when you no longer need it.
This surgery normally takes 1 to 3 hours.
Shoulder replacement surgery is often done when you have severe pain in the shoulder area, which limits your ability to move your arm. Causes of shoulder pain include:
Your doctor may not recommend this surgery if you have:
Risks of anesthesia and surgery in general are:
Risks of shoulder replacement surgery are:
Tell your health care provider what medicines you are taking. This includes medicines, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.
During the 2 weeks before your surgery:
On the day of your surgery:
After the procedure:
Shoulder replacement surgery relieves pain and stiffness for most people. You should be able to resume your normal daily activities without much problem. Many people are able to return to sports such as golf, swimming, gardening, bowling, and others.
Your new shoulder joint will last longer if less stress is placed on it. With normal use, a new shoulder joint can last for at least 10 years.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Reverse total shoulder replacement. orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/reverse-total-shoulder-replacement. Updated August 2022. Accessed January 16, 2023.
Duquin TR, Matsen FA, Lippitt SB, Rockwood CA, Wirth MA. Evaluation and management of glenohumeral arthritis. In: Rockwood CA, Matsen FA, Wirth MA, Lippitt SB, Fehringer EV, Sperling JW, eds. Rockwood and Matsen's The Shoulder. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 60.
Throckmorton TW. Shoulder and elbow arthroplasty. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 12.
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.