Many of us know someone with an artificial knee or hip joint. Shoulder replacement is less common, but is just as successful at relieving joint pain and has come to be used for many painful conditions of the shoulder.
The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that enables you to raise, twist, and bend your arm. It also lets you move your arm forward, to the side, and behind you. In a normal shoulder, the rounded end of the upper arm bone glides against the small dish-like socket in the shoulder blade. These joint surfaces are normally covered with smooth cartilage. They allow the shoulder to rotate through a greater range of motion than any other joint in the body.
The surrounding muscles and tendons provide stability and support. Unfortunately, various conditions can lead to cartilage loss and mechanical deterioration of the shoulder joint. You can have a stiff shoulder that grinds or clunks. This can lead to a loss of strength, decreased range of motion in the shoulder, impaired function and pain.
In general, some patients can get by for a long time with mild shoulder arthritis. When exercises and medications are no longer effective, you will want to discuss shoulder replacement surgery with Dr. Grimes. In this operation, Dr. Grimes replaces the shoulder joint with an artificial ball and socket.
There are several categories of shoulder implants. For patients with intact rotator cuff tendons, an “anatomic” shoulder is used. For patients who have torn rotator cuff tendons that are not repairable, a “reverse” shoulder implant may be the best choice. Dr. Grimes will let you know which procedure is right for you.
In selected younger and more active patients, a regenerative, biological resurfacing surgery using what’s called “osteochondral allografts” may be recommended for shoulder arthritis.
If you and Dr. Grimes decide shoulder replacement surgery is the right treatment for you, it is important that you prepare ahead of time. Your arm will be placed in a sling following surgery. Discuss your needs with your spouse, a family member or a friend who can help. You will need to arrange for someone to take you home from the hospital and to stay with you to help with meal preparation and other household tasks for a few days to two weeks after being discharged from the hospital. You should ensure that your home is prepared for you to manage with very limited use of your arm for several weeks after your surgery.
The surgery will be performed in a hospital where you should expect to stay 1 or 2 days. Typically, you will undergo general anesthesia and you may be administered medicine during the procedure for post-operative pain control.
Although a sling will support your arm, it is important to take your arm out of the sling frequently and work on elbow motion exercises. If you have an anatomic shoulder replacement, the staff at Kern Bone and Joint Specialists will arrange outpatient physical rehabilitation sessions. A physical rehabilitation program is important after surgery to regain full range of motion.
For a reverse shoulder replacement, patients frequently rehabilitate their shoulder by doing a home exercise program after initial healing has taken place. Dr. Grimes will explain which program is best for you.
To learn more, call us for an appointment at (661) 324-2491 in Bakersfield.