Total shoulder replacement

TOTAL SHOULDER REPLACEMENT

WHAT IS A TOTAL SHOULDER REPLACEMENT?

The shoulder, which is a ball and socket joint, is made up of 2 bones. These are:

  • Humerus
  • Scapula

The ball of the humerus fits into the glenoid socket, and articular cartilage and synovial membrane protect the bones. Muscles and tendons hold the shoulder together and provide stability. All of these components work together to allow the shoulder a good range of motion. When any of these components are severely damaged, your orthopaedic surgeon may recommend shoulder replacement surgery. In this case, damaged bone and cartilage are removed and replaced with prosthetic components.

HOW DO THE SURGERIES DIFFER?

The shoulder replacement procedure involves replacing damaged cartilage and bone with prosthetic components. Prosthetic components used in shoulder replacement are made from a range of materials including metal, ceramic, and plastic. New technological advances in surgery mean that the procedure has successful long-term results. In a total shoulder replacement, your orthopaedic surgeon will replace damaged surfaces with a metal ball, which is attached to a stem and a plastic socket. These components may be attached with cement.

The reverse shoulder replacement procedure on the other hand, is done for a small amount of people who lose function due to a massive rupture of the rotary cuff. In these cases, the muscles which are involved in shoulder movement are significantly disabled and thus the shoulder is thus not functional. This surgery then involves the inverse of the traditional shoulder replacement surgery.

Your orthopaedic surgeon will know which of the two surgeries you will need to regain functioning of the shoulder.

Before you decide to undergo shoulder replacement surgery, your orthopaedic surgeon will conduct a thorough physical examination in which he may choose to use x-ray and MRI scans to confirm his diagnoses.

DO I NEED IT?

If you suffer from one of the following shoulder injuries, you may need a total shoulder replacement:

  • A rotator cuff tear that cannot be repaired
  • Intense pain of the rotary cuff
  • Disability of the shoulder due to sever rupture of the rotary cuff
  • Severe shoulder joint `pain
  • Inability to lift your arm above your head
  • Severe osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Severe fracture
  • Avascular necrosis (Osteonecrosis)

HOW LONG WILL RECOVERY TAKE?

Recovery will depend on the severity of your injury, as well as your personal condition. Speak to your orthopaedic surgeon about rehabilitation, physical therapy, and any lifestyle changes that might be required.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Before considering shoulder replacement surgery, an evaluation by an orthopaedic surgeon is required. The procedure typically takes a few hours, and post-operative rehabilitation is essential.

When considering shoulder replacement surgery, bear in mind the following:

  • You need to see a physiotherapist after your surgery to ensure you are aware of any limitations or precautions you will need to take.
  • Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection after the surgery.
  • Your doctor will prescribe pain medication after the procedure.
  • It will take some time for you to become fully mobile after your surgery– it is important to take time to heal properly. Your recovery time will depend on your condition.

DR GABRIEL PIRJOL

Dr Gabriel Pirjol is an orthopaedic surgeon based in Kwazulu Natal at St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban. He also consults and operates from Gateway Hospital in Umhlanga, Westville Hospital and Malvern Medicross.

CONTACT

Telephone: +27 31 202 5463

Email: gpirjol@gmail.com / lisacbauerschmidt@gmail.com

Address : Suite 24 Chelmsford Medical Centre
St Augustine's Hospital
107 J B Marks Road
Berea, 4001