The shoulder is a modified ball-in-a-socket joint, with the ball being the rounded portion of the upper arm and the socket being a shallow dish-shaped structure attached to the shoulder blade. Because the shoulder has so much motion, the cup side does not really surround the ball, and we depend upon strong ligament structures for stability and motion.
With degenerative shoulder conditions, the smooth surfaces of the joint wear off, and specialists replace the area with new smooth surfaces without altering the normally functioning muscles and ligaments.
Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty
When a person has both a degenerative joint and loss of ligament stability, a routine total joint replacement will relieve pain, but will not allow normal motion.
At Glendale Adventist Medical Center, orthopedic specialists offer patients a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty, a unique and successful approach to dealing with this problem: The ball portion of the joint is fixed to the shoulder blade and the cup is attached to the upper arm. By doing this, the cup captures the ball in a way that the normal total shoulder arthroplasty can't, and therefore the patient not only has relief of pain but also regains motion.
Risks associated with the reverse total shoulder arthroplasty are similar to that of any other invasive procedure. Those include the risk of anesthesia, risk of wound infection, the risks of blood loss and the risk of developing blood clots.
Patients who are candidates for this procedure are usually age 60 or older and have both an unrepairable rotator cuff tear and advanced degenerative joint disease of the shoulder. Their pain and limitation of function are also severe.
For more information, call (818) 409-8100.
Click here to download our Health Connections brochure entitled, "Understanding Shoulder Probems".