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Shoulder Replacement

It is a surgical procedure in which all the parts or the part of the glenohumeral joint is being replaced by a prosthetic implant. This type of joint replacement surgery is conducted to relieve arthritis pain or to fix severe physical joint damage and is also an option for the treatment of severe arthritis of the shoulder joint. Generally, arthritis is a condition which affects the cartilage of the joints and as the cartilage lining wears away, there is a loss of protective lining between the bones. When this happens, generally the painful bone-on-bone arthritis develops.

Usually, severe shoulder arthritis is quite painful and can also cause restriction of motion and this may be tolerated with some medications and lifestyle adjustments, therefore, there may come a time when the surgical treatment is mandatory. A few major approaches to access the shoulder joint- first is the deltopectoral approach in which the deltoid is saved but it requires the subscapularis to be cut. The second one is the trans-deltoid approach that provides a straight on approach at the glenoid. During this approach, the deltoid is put at the risk for the potential damage.

In the traditional total shoulder arthroplasty, separation of the deltoid muscle from the pectoral muscle takes place which facilitates access to the shoulder joint through a relatively nerve free passageway. The joint is basically covered by the rotator cuff muscles and the joint capsule. A single rotator cuff muscle is identified and is cut to allow direct access to the shoulder joint. At this point, the surgeon can eradicate the arthritic portions of the joints and secure the ball and the socket prostheses within the joint.

There is an increase in the use of reverse total shoulder arthroplasty with the development of safer and more effective techniques. They are typically indicated when the rotator cuff muscles are severely damaged.