WHEN IS SHOULDER REPLACEMENT SURGERY RECOMMENDED?
A shoulder replacement may be recommended if there is a severe, irreparable rotator cuff tear. In the event that the rotator cuff cannot be restored to its proper function, a reverse shoulder replacement may be implemented to allow patients to raise their arms even without rotator cuff muscles.
ABOUT REVERSE SHOULDER REPLACEMENT SURGERY
In the event of a massive tear in the rotator cuff, it can become impossible to restore the natural rotator cuff to proper function. These massive tears often occur slowly over the course of many years as the cuff tears and begins to pull away from its normal attachment. Over time, scar tissue forms and arthritis develops as the ball and socket grind against one another.
By the time these massive tears can be addressed, they can be irreparable due to the amount of scar tissue, atrophy or shrinkage of the muscle and the increased distance between the cuff and its proper positioning. Without an operational rotator cuff, if the patient were to attempt to lift their arm, the ball of the shoulder would continue moving upward and out of the socket. Conventional total shoulder replacements also rely on the rotator cuff to work properly, meaning that those patients without a functional rotator cuff would not benefit from a traditional replacement surgery. In this case, a reverse shoulder replacement is recommended to reduce pain and improve mobility in the arm.