Shoulder Replacement

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All About Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder replacement is a surgical procedure in which all or part of the glenohumeral joint is replaced by a prosthetic implant.  Such joint replacement surgery generally is conducted to relieve arthritis pain or fix severe physical joint damage.


Your shoulder is made up of three bones: your upper arm bone (humerus), your shoulder blade (scapula), and your collarbone (clavicle). The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint: The ball, or head, of your upper arm bone fits into a shallow socket in your shoulder blade. This socket is called the glenoid.
The surfaces of the bones where they touch are covered with articular cartilage, a smooth substance that protects the bones and enables them to move easily
A thin, smooth tissue called synovial membrane covers all remaining surfaces inside the shoulder joint. In a healthy shoulder, this membrane makes a small amount of fluid that lubricates the cartilage and eliminates almost any friction in your shoulder.
The muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder provide stability and support. All of these structures allow the shoulder to rotate through a greater range of motion than any other joint in the body.

Injury and diseases

In shoulder replacement surgery, the damaged parts of the shoulder are removed and replaced with artificial components, called a prosthesis.

In anatomical shoulder replacement , the head of the humerus bone (ball) and the socket (glenoid) both are replaced with artificial components. The shoulder moves and functions nearly as the normal shoulder but does require all the muscles around shoulder to function optimally to move the joint.


If the fracture has not moved or is undisplaced as we call it, then simple sling, rest , ice and pain killers do the job.

If the fracture has moved, which is very likely the case , then treatment depends upon the amount the ball and joint has got affected. If the ball is strong as in young- Fixing the fracture with plate and screw is the right choice.

In elderly, sometimes the ball gets so much smashed that its difficult to reconstruct it with plates and screws. In those cases, replacing the ball remains the only option

What is Shoulder Replacement

An orthopedic surgeon will replace the natural bone in the ball and socket of your shoulder joint with a material that could be metal or plastic. It’s a major surgery that’ll keep you in the hospital for several days. You’ll also need several weeks of physical therapy afterward.

There are three types of shoulder replacement surgeries:

  • Total shoulder replacement: This is the most common type. It replaces the ball at the top of your humerus with a metal ball, which gets attached to the remaining bone. The socket gets covered with a new plastic surface.
  • Hemi arthroplasy or Partial shoulder replacement:Only the ball gets replaced.
  • Reverse shoulder replacement: Usually, you’d get this if you have a torn rotator cuff. It’s also done when another shoulder replacement surgery didn’t work. The metal ball gets attached to your shoulder bones, and a socket is implanted at the top of your arm.

Presently Senior Consultant Orthopedics & Joint Replacement, Apollomedics Super Speciality Hospital, Lucknow

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