Shoulder Joint Replacement | All You Need to Know About Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Types of shoulder replacement surgery

Since shoulder replacement surgery is done in a very complex area that includes two different joints, there are different types and techniques your doctor can use depending on the location, severity, and extent of the damage.

There are different types of shoulder replacement surgery or arthroplasty. They are:

1. Total shoulder replacement surgery: This type of shoulder replacement is performed when a patient has arthritis in the shoulder joint. It involves replacing the ball and socket joint with an artificial one. As the name implies, the glenohumeral articulation is completely replaced with prosthetic materials which are cemented or pressed to fit in place.

2. Reverse shoulder arthroplasty: This type of shoulder replacement is used to treat patients who have more advanced damage due to osteoarthritis and other diseases. It also involves removing the ball and socket joint and replacing them with a new pair. But instead of placing the socket on the shoulder bone and the ball on the humerus, doctors will place the prosthetic parts in the opposite direction. This approach can also be used when total shoulder replacement surgery fails.

3. Stemmed hemiarthroplasty: It can sometimes happen that only the ball of the humerus is damaged. For example, after enduring a fracture, it can be broken while the glenoid cavity is intact. After evaluating the damage, the doctor may recommend stemmed hemiarthroplasty to replace only the ball of the humerus and leave the healthy socket intact.

4. Resurfacing hemiarthroplasty: This is another option to replace or fix the ball of the humerus while leaving the glenoid cavity intact. In this case, doctors won’t replace the whole bony structure of the ball. They will only scratch and remove the damaged surface and install a prosthetic surface in its place. This is not strictly a replacement, which is why it is called resurfacing, and it is done when the ball is not severely damaged, and the doctor wants to preserve the humeral head.

As noted, every type of shoulder replacement surgery has its features and recommendations. It is not about which one is better but which is recommended according to your condition. The only one who can make the distinction is a skilled orthopedist.