What is Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement?

While total shoulder replacements are often highly beneficial procedures for thousands of patients each year, a small amount of patients suffering from rotator cuff tears may experience adverse effects from their prior shoulder replacement. This is because these patients are at a high risk of developing an advanced form of arthritis known as “cuff tear arthropathy”, which can cause significant pain and limited mobility in the affected arm and shoulder. For this small percentage of patients, reverse total shoulder replacement surgery may be an option to alleviate their discomfort and adjust their limited range of motion. Additionally, patients suffering from previously failed shoulder replacements or severe rotator cuff tears that have not yet led to arthritis are also viable candidates for a reverse total shoulder replacement.

Our Treatment Approach

Completed nearly identically to a standard shoulder replacement, different parts are inserted into the affected area – This causes the shoulder to rely on different muscles to move and provide power to the arm. The experienced surgeons at OrthoCARE Institute will generally follow these guidelines when completing a reverse shoulder replacement procedure:

  • A small incision made along the top or front of the shoulder allows the surgeon to expertly remove damaged areas of bone. They will then insert a metal ball into the shoulder socket and carefully fit a cup-like device to the upper end of the arm bone.
  • If there are no complications, such as very advanced cases of rotator cuff arthropathy or several prior surgeries, the surgeon will secure these parts within the shoulder so normal function is restored and healing can begin.

Oftentimes, the entire procedure will only take about 2 hours to complete. At OrthoCARE Institute, a division of the vertically-integrated Lumin Health system, we use the most compassionate and innovative techniques for our patients whenever possible. We are committed to helping patients stay active, pain-free and healthy through a diverse range of procedures designed to relieve pain and give patients back their quality of life.

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