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In 2017, advances in medical technology have made joint replacement surgery less painful and more widespread than ever. As surgical tools have gotten better and surgeons have increased their skill, patients of all ages have found joint replacement to be a great solution to chronic pain. Chances are, you probably know someone who has had a joint replaced, and if so, you might be wondering just what a joint replacement entails.
We’re here to answer that question, specifically about shoulder replacement surgery.
So What is Shoulder Replacement?
A total shoulder replacement, as the surgery is often called, is a technique where a surgeon removes the ball and socket of your shoulder and replaces it with synthetic implants. This removal includes the head of the humerus (your upper arm bone) as well as the socket that is formed by your shoulder blade (also known as the glenoid).
Once these sections of the bone are removed, the surgeon then inserts new synthetic versions of the ball and socket in their proper place in the shoulder, which can help relieve a patient from chronic pain and provide a return to joint mobility.
Why is This Surgery Performed?
There are plenty of reasons why someone might need a shoulder replacement. The first is any condition that causes chronic, constant shoulder pain for the patient. Conditions such as arthritis (in any of its forms) can wear away the cartilage that keeps joint movement fluid and smooth, resulting in pain and a loss of mobility for the patient. In this situation, a shoulder replacement can help by removing the worn-out joint and providing the patient with pain-free shoulder mobility they wouldn’t otherwise have.
Shoulder replacements can also provide a solution to severe shoulder fractures or rotator cuff tears, which can be treated with a different variation of the surgery called a reverse shoulder replacement.
Who is This Surgery Right For?
As we said earlier, more people of a wider age group are having shoulder replacements all the time. As long as the patient is in good health and some other factors check out, there is really no one too young or too old for the procedure. The ultimate goal is to provide relief from pain and a return to normal life, and if that goal can be achieved through shoulder replacement surgery, then the procedure is a great option to consider.
What If I Have Chronic Shoulder Pain?
If you have one of the conditions we mentioned above, or you are suffering from shoulder pain that won’t go away, it’s best to see a doctor and get further evaluation of your condition. A solution like shoulder replacement just might be right for you, but the only way to know is to get help from the right people (see our shoulder services page to schedule an appointment at Excelsior).