Total shoulder replacement

Total Shoulder Replacement Introduction

Total Shoulder Replacement is performed when arthritis or degenerative joint disease makes the shoulder stiff and painful. The procedure replaces the bone surfaces of the shoulder joint with a metal humeral head (ball) attached to a stem inserted in the upper arm (humerus) and a specially reinforced polyethylene plastic socket (glenoid).


Cartilage Wear

In cases requiring total shoulder replacement, the cartilage becomes worn and the underlying bone develops spurs and various irregularities which produce pain and loss of arm motion.



An incision is made around the shoulder joint. The incision is commonly made along the side or in front of the arm. The muscles and tendons are moved away from the joint to expose the humeral head and labrum.


Removing the Humeral Head

The shoulder is moved to allow access into the joint. The head of the humerus is removed and the glenoid cavity is cleaned out in preparation for the replacement component.


Fitting the Stem and Ball

The hollow channel inside the humerus is prepared so the humeral stem can be fit into position. Depending on your surgeon’s preference, cement may or may not be used to secure the stem. A carefully fitted "ball" is secured to the end of the humeral stem.


Rejoining the Shoulder Joint

The shoulder joint is then rejoined and all surrounding tissues are put back into normal position.


End of Procedure

Total Shoulder Replacement can provide complete or nearly complete pain relief in most patients and will allow patients to carry out many normal activities of daily living, light labor and sporting activities.

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