A traditional shoulder replacement depends on the rotator cuff muscles to keep the replacement in position and allow shoulder movement. When a patient experiences a rotator cuff tear that cannot be repaired or if the rotator cuff muscles no longer function like they should, a reverse shoulder replacement may be the best treatment option since it relies on the deltoid muscle to create movement.
A reverse shoulder replacement is much like a traditional shoulder replacement. Both techniques involve replacing the natural degenerated bone and cartilage with plastic and metal components. The components allow the shoulder to move freely and pain free. This special type of replacement surgery changes the biomechanics of the shoulder by allowing the deltoid muscle to stabilize and move the shoulder joint instead of the original rotator cuff muscles. Dr. Verma accomplishes this by placing the ball on the glenoid (typically the socket) and the socket on the humerus (typically the ball). With the reversal of the ball and socket, a “reverse” shoulder replacement is achieved.
The procedure is approximately one to two hours and generally requires an overnight hospital stay. It is performed through a small open incision in the front of the shoulder. The implant is generally fixed in place with screws on the socket side and impacted into the canal of the bone on the humeral side. This allows provisional fixation until the bone heals to the implant resulting in long term stability.
Reverse Shoulder Replacement Recovery
Following surgery, Dr. Verma’s team will provide the recommended amount of pain medication and antibiotics to alleviate pain and prevent infection. The arm will be placed in a sling for a predetermined amount of time. Physical therapy will begin almost immediately after the procedure. The initial therapy focuses on safe motion with certain restrictions for a specific amount of time, typically six weeks. Reverse shoulder replacement recovery is dependent on how closely a patient follows recovery guidelines. Many patients can expect a full recovery within three to four months.
For additional resources on injuries associated with osteoarthritis of the shoulder, or to learn more about reverse shoulder replacement, please contact the office of Dr. Nikhil Verma, orthopedic shoulder surgeon treating patients in the Chicago, Westchester, Oak Brook and Hinsdale, Illinois area.