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5 Reasons to Have Shoulder Replacement Surgery

What is shoulder replacement surgery?

The shoulder delivers more range of motion than any other joint. In a total shoulder replacement procedure, the surgeon substitutes the arthritic joint surfaces with a polished metal ball and a plastic socket.

In a partial shoulder replacement procedure, also called hemiarthroplasty, the surgeon substitutes the ball, while preserving the patient’s original socket.

Just how common is a shoulder replacement? According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), nationwide, the number of total and partial shoulder replacements increased from about 18,000 in 2000 to more than 45,000 in 2013. Today, about 53,000 people in the U.S. have shoulder replacement surgery each year.

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It is important for patients to understand numerous conditions can cause shoulder pain and disability. Eventually, this may lead patients to contemplate shoulder joint replacement surgery.

That said, what are the most common injuries and diseases that can lead to shoulder replacement? 

1. Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease)

Essentially, osteoarthritis is the breakdown of the cartilage between joints. It is not only painful but causes debilitating inflammation in the affected joints. 

Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease in the United States. Shoulder Osteoarthritis most commonly occurs in people over 50 years old. It is the leading cause of disability in adults. 

In younger patients, osteoarthritis can be caused by an injury or trauma, for instance, a broken, or dislocated shoulder. Osteoarthritis may also be genetic. 

2. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition, which means that the immune system attacks its own tissues. It is symmetrical – it usually affects the same joint on both sides of the body.

Statistically, RA affects approximately 1% of the United States population and women are 2 to 3 times more likely to be affected than men. Usually, the onset of the disease is noted between the ages of 35 and 50 years old but even juveniles can be affected. 

Conservative methods such as physical therapy, steroid injections, and medications are usually attempted to find relief of symptoms. 

If these methods fail then surgical interventions may be recommended. Usually, these patients are experiencing substantial pain and functional limitations affecting normal activities of life. 

3. Post-traumatic Arthritis

You may suffer from post-traumatic arthritis (PA) if you have been injured. PA is caused by the wearing of a joint that has had some form of injury. It may not necessarily be sports-related. 

For example, a vehicle accident, falls, injuries from working out, or any other source of trauma can contribute to the development of PA.

Injuries cause joint and cartilage damage that change how the affected area works, causing it to wear exponentially. If the cause of injury, such as with sports, is continued the wear-out of the joint increases the development of PA.

Post-traumatic arthritis of the shoulders can be a cause of fluid build-up in the shoulder joint, as well as pain and swelling. It is often caused by wear and tear that eventually develops into PA. 

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4. Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy

With a rotator cuff tear arthropathy, there is significant arthritis in the area of a rotator cuff tear. 

People with progressive impairment of the rotator cuff tendons around the shoulder frequently develop rotator cuff tear arthropathy (RCTA).

The main symptoms include shoulder pain, stiffness, limitation of shoulder mobility and disability.

There are three identifiers physicians use to diagnose the condition: 

  • Insufficient mobility and function of the rotator cuff
  • Arthritis of the ball-and-socket joint
  • Shifting of the normal position of the ball within the socket

If non‐operative treatments fail to bring results, and there is still incapacitating pain and loss of function involved, then surgery is typically recommended.

5. Avascular Necrosis (Osteonecrosis)

Avascular Necrosis, also called osteonecrosis, is a condition in which the humeral head dies as a consequence of loss of blood supply. 

Eventually, Osteonecrosis can lead to tiny breaks in the bone that eventually lead to bond collapse. Common causes are long-term steroid use and excessive alcohol intake. 

Though it is more common in patients between 30-50 years old, anyone, at any age, can be affected by the condition. 

Though humeral head osteonecrosis is uncommon, it is a noteworthy source of shoulder pain. Even though non-operative treatment is primarily prescribed, with time and if there is a risk of head collapse, surgery is recommended.

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Raleigh Orthopaedic Surgery Center: Experts in Orthopedic Procedures

The Raleigh Orthopaedic Surgery Center is committed to providing you with world-class services during your treatment. Your care will at all times be physician-directed and patient-focused. 

Raleigh Orthopaedic Surgery Center is the right choice for your orthopedic procedure. 

Our Raleigh Orthopedic Surgeons use the most up-to-date surgical equipment to provide our patients with high-quality, personalized care from start to finish, in a cost-effective manner. 

The Raleigh Orthopaedic Surgery Center is the largest, most modern outpatient surgery center in Eastern North Carolina.

If you want to find out more about the Shoulder Replacement Surgery performed at the best orthopedic surgery center in Raleigh, please call us today 919-719-3070.


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.