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Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder Replacement (Shoulder Arthroplasty) Surgeon

Are you suffering from shoulder arthritis? If so, you may be a candidate for a shoulder replacement. Shoulder replacement surgery is a viable option for patients suffering from arthritis who have exhausted all non-surgical and more minimally invasive surgical options. Shoulder replacement surgeon, Dr. Nikhil Verma provides diagnosis and both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients in Chicago who have developed shoulder arthritis. Contact Dr. Verma’s team today!

An Overview on Shoulder Replacement (Shoulder Arthroplasty)

The shoulder joint is lined with cartilage to help protect the bones and allow a smooth, pain free range of motion. Shoulder arthritis can be a debilitating condition that occurs when cartilage begins to wear away from normal wear and tear. Osteoarthritis commonly affects the older population and is a progressive condition marked by inflammation, swelling and persistent shoulder pain. Patients who have tried non-surgical measures, such as physical therapy, medications, injections and/or arthroscopic shoulder surgery, and still experience painful arthritis symptoms may be a candidate for shoulder replacement. Otherwise known as shoulder arthroplasty, shoulder replacement surgery can allow patients to return to a healthy, normal life following the procedure. Dr. Nikhil Verma, shoulder surgeon in the Chicago, Westchester, Oak Brook and Hinsdale, Illinois area, offers this shoulder treatment to patients who have exhausted other treatment options.

During shoulder arthroplasty, a small open incision is used to access the shoulder joint from the front of the shoulder. Dr. Verma will replace the natural degenerated cartilage and bones of the shoulder joint with metal and plastic components. The components allow for smooth, pain free motion of the shoulder and are held in place by a combination of medical bone cement and fitting the components tightly in place. The procedure may sometimes be performed as an outpatient, or may require an overnight stay in the hospital.

Typically, patients experience significant pain and functional improvement following the procedure. However, the prosthesis can wear out over time, and therefore the procedure is generally reserved for patients over the age of 50. Limited risks of shoulder replacement include things like bleeding, infection and injuries to nerves or vessels.

Recovery and Rehabilitation after Shoulder Replacement

In order for the shoulder to regain motion, strength and overall mobility, physical therapy and rehabilitation is required following shoulder arthroplasty. The initial therapy focuses on safe motion with a set of restrictions for six weeks. Patients can expect to be performing normal activities pain free after a recovery period of approximately two to three months.

How long is the surgery for total shoulder replacement?

A typical total shoulder replacement without complications, takes about two hours. This time includes recovery from anesthesia.

How successful is a total shoulder replacement?

The vast majority of shoulder replacement surgeries are successful with most replacements lasting 10 years. 90 percent. Only 5 percent of patients report post-operative complications with the majority of patients having significant pain reduction.

What are the alternatives to total shoulder replacement?

Dr. Verma can offer a procedure known as the CAM (Comprehensive Arthroscopic Management) procedure. This joint-preserving technique is done through arthroscopic surgery and removes loose cartilage and labral tissue. During this procedure the joint is smoothed out and reshaped to give it a better surface. Most young athletes prefer the CAM procedure because it allows them to return to their activities quicker.

For younger patients, Dr. Verma offers joint preservation and cartilage restoration for the shoulder. In select patients, cartilage restoration uses donated tissue to regrow joint tissue. The damaged tissue is replaced with healthy cartilage from either the patient’s own body or a donor cadaver. This procedure biologically restores the joint.

How long does it take to fully recover from total shoulder replacement surgery?

A total shoulder replacement does take time to heal and for patients to rehabilitate correctly. For most patients, after following Dr. Verma’s physical therapy protocols, they can expect to return to normal activities within six months.

What is the difference between a total shoulder replacement and reverse shoulder replacement?

A traditional shoulder replacement, relies on the rotator cuff muscles to keep the replacement prosthesis in place. Whereas a reverse shoulder replacement surgery relies on the deltoid muscle for stability and mobility. Traditional total shoulder replacements are typically reserved for shoulder arthritis patients and reverse total shoulder replacements are used for patients who have rotator cuff tear arthropathy: A rotator cuff tear that cannot be repaired or a failed shoulder replacement surgery.

Is shoulder surgery replacement major surgery?

Yes, total shoulder replacement surgery is considered major surgery but is very safe and has predictable outcomes. Rehabilitation is started right away, but only passive exercise is suggested for the first month after surgery. Most total shoulder replacements can take six months to heal and to be pain free.

What is the difference between total shoulder replacement and rotator cuff repair?

Total shoulder replacement replaces the damaged shoulder joint with artificial implants. Shoulder joint replacement is usually performed when the joint is severely damaged by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, rotator cuff tear arthropathy, avascular necrosis or failed former shoulder replacement surgery.

Rotator cuff surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis and is not considered major surgery. The procedure repairs a torn rotator cuff which is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff’s job is to keep the head of the upper arm bone (humerus) inside the shoulder socket (glenoid.)

How long do you have to wear a sling after total shoulder replacement surgery?

A sling is used after a total shoulder replacement to keep the arm and shoulder immobile and to allow the joint to heal properly. Dr. Verma and his team will have the patient begin physical therapy right away to restore flexibility, but the sling will be worn for about 6 weeks.

What does a total shoulder replacement scar look like?

Total shoulder replacement is an open surgery, requiring a larger incision than arthroscopic surgery. Dr Verma and his team are careful to minimize scaring and leave only a small scar which is typically 5 – 6 inches in length.

What can you expect after shoulder replacement and airport security?

Shoulder replacement surgery uses plastic and metal parts called a prosthesis. On occasion, the new metal ball which replaces the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) can set off a security scanner at the airport. Patients only need to explain to the TSA that they have had a total shoulder replacement. Often the area is gone over with a wand or a pat-down and further investigation is unnecessary.

What happens when a shoulder replacement fails?

Total shoulder arthroplasty is a common and successful treatment for patients with advanced osteoarthritis in the shoulder. On occasion however, a shoulder implant can fail, or a patient does not achieve pain relief from having a total shoulder replacement. In these cases, Dr. Verma can perform a procedure called reverse shoulder replacement surgery. This surgery has been proven to help patients who have had a prior failed total shoulder replacement.

For more information on the treatment of osteoarthritis of the shoulder, or to learn more about shoulder replacement (shoulder arthroplasty), please contact the office of Dr. Nikhil Verma, orthopedic shoulder surgeon serving the communities of Chicago, Westchester, Oak Brook and Hinsdale, Illinois.

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