Shoulder Replacement Surgery Adelaide

What is a shoulder replacement?

A shoulder replacement is when the joint surface of the shoulder is replaced by artificial bearings. 

It’s similar to a total hip replacement or total knee replacement.

During a shoulder replacement we replace the:

  • Ball of the shoulder with a new ball

  • Socket of the shoulder with a new socket

These two new bearings glide upon each other to lubricate and protect the bones from rubbing against each other. That usually improves your shoulder movements and reduces your pain.

When might you need a shoulder replacement?

You may consider a shoulder replacement if you have:

  • Arthritis

  • A fractured shoulder

  • Large, irreparable rotator cuff tears.

Anatomic Shoulder Replacement

Anatomic Shoulder Replacement

If the bones and tendons in your shoulder are still in good shape, then we can perform a standard shoulder replacement using your anatomy.

We’ll remove the damaged parts of your shoulder joint and replace them with artificial components that mimic the normal structure of your shoulder while reducing rubbing or inflammation.

Reverse Shoulder Replacement

If the tendons supporting your shoulder have been significantly damaged by a bad rotator cuff tear, then we’ll recommend a reverse shoulder replacement.

In a reverse shoulder replacement, the implants are reversed. The ball is placed where the socket should be and the socket is placed where the ball would usually be. This leads to an unusual looking x-ray and certainly is a unique design.

The initial concept was developed over thirty years ago but has only been well adopted over the last fifteen years. These implants are long-lasting and perform well.

Reverse shoulder replacements are now the most common style of shoulder replacement performed in Australia.

Reverse Shoulder Replacement

What are the risks of a shoulder replacement of either type?

Shoulder replacement involves risks associated with:

  • The nerve block used to numb your arm (which may last for 24 hours)

  • The general anaesthetic

  • Infections

  • Implants loosening or dislocating over time

  • Nerve paralysis

  • Tendon rupture (with the anatomic shoulder replacement)

Despite these risks, shoulder replacements of both varieties are proving to be a good option for patients struggling with pain.

How long does a shoulder replacement last?

All shoulder replacements are entered into the Arthroplasty Register, which outlines the results of shoulder replacements. This data shows us that both standard and reverse shoulder replacements last for a similar length of time.

Are the protocols any different for reverse or anatomic shoulder placement?

No, they are not. Both shoulder replacements:

  • Are done through the same incision

  • Rely on releasing and then repairing the anterior musculature at the end of the procedure

Recovery after shoulder replacement surgery

For 4-6 weeks after surgery, you’ll have limited motion in your arm while your shoulder muscles recover from surgery.

You’ll also need physiotherapy to help you regain strength and flexibility in your shoulder.

Your shoulder replacement surgeon in Adelaide

If you need a shoulder replacement surgeon you can trust, please call Glenelg Orthopaedics and book a consultation with Dr Gavin Nimon.


See also

[siblings exclude=”current”]