Reverse Shoulder Replacement

Reverse shoulder replacement surgery is necessary in some cases because of anatomy issues or in patients with completely torn rotator cuffs with severe arm weakness, severe arthritis and rotator cuff tearing, and those who had a previous shoulder replacement that failed.

In reverse total shoulder replacement, the socket and ball prosthetics are switched. That means the ball is attached to the shoulder bone and a socket is attached to the upper arm bone. This allows the patient to use the deltoid muscle instead of the torn rotator cuff to lift the arm.

There are several different kinds of shoulder joint prostheses available. Most are made with metal and plastic and are attached with a special type of bone cement or a “press fit” into healthy bone.

 

Who is eligible?

Tenet Florida Physician Services considers a patient’s overall health before recommending any surgery.

If a doctor believes a conventional shoulder replacement could leave the patient with significant pain, he or she may recommend the reverse shoulder replacement. It is also favored for those who may be unable to lift their arm up past a 90-degree angle.

Patients who did not have success with a conventional shoulder replacement are candidates for a reverse shoulder replacement as well. Limitations may be placed on patients with nerve damage, infections, or wound issues.

 

What are the risks?

In addition to the regular risks of any surgery, there are some additional risks to reverse shoulder replacement surgery. These include infection, problems with the prosthesis (replacement parts), and nerve damage.  Your doctor will discuss the potential risks and benefits of elbow arthroscopy with you prior to surgery.

 

What is recovery like?

In general, patients wear a sling for two to four weeks after surgery. Your doctor will tell you when you can stop using the sling and when you can expect to drive. Physical therapy and rehabilitation begin soon after the surgery and are important parts of a full recovery. You will have exercises to do at the rehab site and exercises to do at home. Being diligent about this work will help you gain the best result from surgery.

 

How expensive is it?

Reverse shoulder replacement surgery is usually covered by insurance, Medicaid and Medicare. If you and your Tenet Florida Physician Services doctor believe surgery is a good choice for you, the Tenet team will give you an estimate of what your out of pocket expenses may be.

 

How do I learn more?

Usually, surgery candidates are referred by a general or family physician. If you would like to make an appointment to speak with a Tenet doctor about this procedure, call 1.866.654.2362.