consulting a doctor

Preparing for Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

The three bones of the shoulder joint make up humerus,  the upper arm, the scapula or shoulder blade, and the clavicle—the collarbone. The ball of the humerus fits into the socket of the scapula; and the clavicle articulates with the other components of the shoulder joint allowing for specific movements to occur. Because of the intricate nature of the joint and the critical role it plays in arm movement, when surgery is required, you should be informed about what’s in store.

Doctors in Orem who recommend shoulder replacement surgery should be ready to answer your questions. How about we answer some of the most important ones right now?

Why is shoulder replacement necessary?

Replacement surgery or total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA) involves removal of diseased articular or bony components of the shoulder joint complex. Removal of damaged and unsalvageable joint cartilage is part of the procedure as well. The new components are made from artificial or man-made materials. Essentially, you will be wearing a prosthesis consisting of metal and/or plastic parts.

An orthopedic surgeon performs a total replacement surgery. A TSA is typically a last resort procedure for severe pain and dysfunction in the shoulder. The main goal of the surgery is pain relief, and secondary to that is recovery of function. TSA may be recommended for persons suffering from end-stage degenerative diseases such as arthritis. If you are failing to find relief and comfort from conventional treatment methods despite your best efforts, and given a length of time, you might want to consider TSA.

What other conditions will benefit from TSA?

shoulder pain

The number one indication for a total shoulder arthroplasty are persons suffering from severe shoulder pain due to arthritis. In some cases, the problem may arise from torn rotator cuff connective tissue. When tears of the rotator cuff are not addressed properly the joint may develop degenerative changes similar to arthritis later on.

Aside from arthritis of the shoulder joint complex, a TSA may be recommended for persons with severe damage to the articular portions of the humerus, scapula, and clavicle due to trauma. Fractures may occur within the joint in the aftermath of a crush injury, or in contact sports. A doctor will evaluate whether a partial replacement is indicated, or if full replacement is necessary.

What can you expect after TSA?

Given the expenses, the associated risks, and the time you must dedicate to full recovery, is it worth your time and resources to undergo total shoulder arthroplasty? The answer is yes, of course.

A successful shoulder replacement surgery results in pain relief and significant comfort. You will notice this after the wound has healed. You’d have to stay under observation for a few days after the procedure, and medication to relieve surgical pain would be on hand. The swelling will go down eventually, and while still bed-bound rehabilitation will ensue.

TSA has high success rates, and positive outcomes overall. Yet, these promised results are possible only if you follow guidelines and instructions for post-surgical care and rehabilitation. The surgery will remove your pain, but you have to work hard with a rehabilitation team to regain a range of movement and strength. The outcomes will depend on your motivation, cooperation, and compliance to therapy.