Choosing The Best Shoulder Surgery
For individuals with degenerative shoulder conditions, such as arthritis, shoulder replacement surgery is a standard treatment option. Over time, the joint becomes difficult to use without discomfort, severely impacting the quality of life. When non-surgical treatment fails, replacing the joint is an excellent option. Conventional shoulder replacement and reverse total shoulder replacement are the 2 procedures currently available to treat severe shoulder pain or arthritis. While each can fix the problem, reverse total shoulder replacement offers many benefits over conventional shoulder replacement.
The conventional route
With a conventional shoulder replacement, the damaged ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder is replaced with a prosthesis. This procedure is typically recommended for patients with a functioning rotator cuff. Conventional treatment relies on intact muscles and tendons to provide stability and movement in the shoulder joint. However, when the rotator cuff is compromised or has considerable damage, conventional shoulder replacement may not be as effective in restoring function and reducing pain.
Do it in reverse
For patients with rotator cuff dysfunction or irreparable rotator cuff tears, reverse total shoulder replacement is often recommended. This procedure reverses the ball-and-socket relationship of the joint. The surgeon places a prosthetic socket on the humerus and a prosthetic ball on the glenoid. There are 3 benefits of reverse total shoulder replacement compared to conventional shoulder replacement.
1. improved stability and ROM
Reverse total shoulder replacement improves range of motion (ROM) and stability. The new biomechanics of the reverse total shoulder replacement allows the larger deltoid muscle, rather than the rotator cuff, to provide stability and movement in the shoulder joint. By relying on the deltoid muscle, typically less affected by rotator cuff pathology, patients can experience improved strength and a more comprehensive range of motion in the shoulder.
2. Enhanced pain relief and functional outcomes
Another significant benefit is enhanced pain relief and functional outcomes. Reverse total shoulder replacement has been shown to provide superior pain relief and functional outcomes compared to conventional shoulder replacement in patients with rotator cuff dysfunction. This is particularly important for individuals who have exhausted conservative treatments and are experiencing severe pain and limited function in the shoulders.
3. A more durable prosthesis
Yet another benefit of reverse total shoulder replacement is decreased glenoid wear and increased prosthesis longevity. The center of rotation is moved medially and distally in reverse total shoulder replacement. Therefore, the procedure reduces the eccentric glenoid wear that can lead to premature loosening of the glenoid component. This complication is common in conventional shoulder replacement. Reverse replacements can result in a longer-lasting prosthesis and potentially reduce the need for revision surgery.
Reversing shoulder pain
For advanced rotator cuff degeneration or irreparable tears, reverse total shoulder replacement surgery may be a good option. The procedure alleviates pain, improves stability, and enhances overall shoulder function. The minimally invasive approach helps speed up recovery. However, consulting a qualified orthopedic surgeon is necessary to determine if reverse total shoulder replacement surgery is appropriate for an individual’s specific condition and medical history.