When the shoulder joint is damaged beyond repair and/or worn out replacing the just the ball surface (resurfacing – left picture) and replacing both ball and socket may be required (total shoulder replacement – right picture). A prerequisite to these procedures is that the muscles and tendons (rotator cuff) are intact and functional.
The operation is done by a cut on top of the shoulder or in front of the shoulder depending on the extent of damage.
The operation requires an overnight stay in hospital and going home with the arm in a sling. Rehabilitation generally is as follows.
If the rotator cuff tendons are damaged by age, arthritis or injury the only way to restore pain relief and reasonable function is by doing a reverse shoulder replacement.
This operation is done in patients over the age of 70 as we are still learning how long it will last. In my hands, with the correct type of patient it gives superb results. This is decided by clinical examination, x-rays and sometimes scans. It involves an overnight stay in hospital.