Shoulder Replacement

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Swedish Orthopedic Institute performs hundreds of shoulder replacements each year. At the forefront of the field, the specialists here have pioneered new prosthetics and techniques to make the surgery a highly effective treatment choice. Physicians lead orthopedic treatment teams of experienced health-care professionals, following a meticulous standard of care for patients undergoing shoulder surgery. Patients also play a critical role in how well they recover from surgery and get back into action.

Replacement Facts

The shoulder is a complex arrangement of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. The major movement in the shoulder is between the ball-like head of the humerus (upper arm bone) and the glenoid fossa (the shoulder socket). In a shoulder replacement, this ball-and-socket area is replaced with prosthetic (artificial) parts. The prosthetics are made of metal, ceramic or plastic materials and are designed to replicate the shoulder function as well as work compatibly with the body and resist corrosion.

Based on the extent of damage to the shoulder, some patients may be candidates for a partial shoulder replacement or shoulder resurfacing. This procedure is an alternative to a total shoulder replacement and involves resurfacing of just the diseased surfaces of the joint, rather than the whole joint.

Common Reasons for a Replacement

In most cases, someone who requires total-shoulder replacement has some form of arthritis. Arthritis can cause the person to suffer pain, stiffness and limited function. Beyond limited or painful mobility, nighttime pain is a primary symptom of shoulder problems. While there are several types of arthritis, most shoulder-replacement patients have rheumatoid arthritis (chronic joint inflammation) or osteoarthritis (a degenerative joint disease).

Symptoms of arthritis may include:

  • Swelling in the joint
  • Stiffness, particularly in the morning
  • Inability to move a joint normally
  • Recurring pain or tenderness

Patient Care

At the Swedish Orthopedic Institute, we use a special "carepathway" specifically for shoulder-replacement patients. This step-by-step plan details a patient's daily routine, from preadmission and surgery to inpatient recovery and outpatient rehabilitation. Every aspect of a patient's care, from anesthesia to postoperative exercise, is carefully planned and coordinated to ensure the best possible outcome.

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Shoulder Replacement