Restoring shoulder function with reverse surgery

By The Health News Team | April 13, 2023
Man experiencing shoulder pain

The shoulder is comprised of many joints in the upper arm and collar, combining muscles and tendons to allow a wide range of motion. This helps you perform simple activities of daily living — from lifting your arm to reach for an item in the cabinet to throwing a baseball or simply scratching an itch on your back.

However, shoulder pain is a common problem that can impact the function of the shoulder, which may result in the need for surgery. While a standard shoulder replacement surgery is more well-known, reverse surgery can actually drive better results for individuals with certain injuries, such as a torn or malfunctioning rotator cuff.

“Reverse shoulder arthroplasty is one of the most common and successful surgeries performed in orthopedics,” says Dr. Daniel Brereton, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon affiliated with Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center . "It is a life-changing procedure that gives back pain-free function to patients."

Standard vs. reverse shoulder replacement surgery

Determining which type of shoulder replacement surgery is effective for you is often based on the functionality of your shoulder’s rotator cuff. If the muscles and tendons of the cuff are severely compromised, then reverse shoulder replacement surgery may be the best option.

Standard shoulder surgery involves removing the damaged parts of the bone and joint and replacing them with artificial components, also known as prostheses. A plastic cup is fitted into the shoulder socket while a metal ball is attached to the top of the upper arm bone.

However, in the situation of a reverse surgery, the parts of the ball and socket are backward from where it is anatomically located — the ball is placed on the socket side of the joint. The reversed formation relies on the deltoid muscle to mimic the function of the rotator cuff to provide the needed joint mobility.

Shoulder replacement surgery with a reversed prosthesis is a procedure that should be performed by a highly skilled and experienced orthopedic surgeon, who can address your shoulder pain, treat it and get you quickly on the road to recovery.


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