Most people know someone with an artificial hip or knee, but an artificial shoulder is not really a well-known entity. The shoulder is an elegant piece of machinery, made up of three main parts: your upper arm bone (the humorous), your shoulder blade (the scapula), and your collarbone (the clavicle). When a shoulder is healthy, your bones are covered with cartilage and a lubricating membrane that keep the joints moving and avoiding bone to bone friction.
The shoulder is extremely complex, but understanding the structure of the shoulder can help you understand how this part of the body works and how it can become injured. There are ways your shoulder can become injured, but knowing how to treat it is a different story.
How Do I Know If I Need Shoulder Surgery?
Consult with your physician or orthopedic surgeon to find out whether shoulder replacement surgery is a good option for you if you are experiencing:
· Shoulder pain that limits daily activities
· Discomfort that causes loss of sleep or an inability to rest easily without significant pain
· Inability to improve your condition through the use of medication, physical therapy, or other treatments
· Significant loss of range of motion
What is shoulder replacement surgery?
The shoulder is called a ball-and-socket joint. For patients who have chronic pain or severe arthritis, such as rheumatoid or osteoarthritis, surgery is generally recommended. If you and your physician decide that joint replacement is the best treatment option for you, then it will be important for you to be well prepared for your surgery date and the months to follow.
During shoulder replacement surgery, the ball is removed from the top of the arm bone and replaced with a metal implant, shaped like a crescent moon down the center of the arm bone. The socket portion of the joint is shaved down to remove the cartilage and replaced with a plastic socket that is secured permanently onto the shoulder blade. Shoulder replacement surgery takes about two hours. The surgery is most often done under general anesthesia, where the patient is put to sleep, and hospital stays range from one to three days.
It is important to note that, the option for shoulder replacement surgery is taken in serious cases where pain requires that the entire joint be replaced. If there is still cartilage in the shoulder socket, total replacement may not be necessary. The most ideal patients for total shoulder replacement experience bone-on-bone friction in the joint but still have a healthy rotator cuff.
If you think you might be a great candidate for a shoulder replacement surgery, consult with a professional who can make a better assessment of your condition and advise you about the best way to proceed. Call Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland at (410) 644-1880 to request a consultation today.