By Frank Alberta

Shoulder Replacement = Pain Relief

This is the second of three posts about total shoulder replacement

Is the pain in your shoulder stopping you from your daily activities? Does a moment go by without you thinking about it?

Shoulder joint replacement may offer the relief you need. It’s less common than knee or hip replacement, but just as successful in easing joint pain.

The North Jersey Orthopaedic Clinic is one of the nation’s leading centers for shoulder replacement surgery. If nonsurgical treatments like medications and activity changes are no longer helpful for relieving pain, contact us. You may want to consider shoulder joint replacement surgery.

Joint replacement surgery is a safe and effective procedure. About 53,000 people in the U.S. have shoulder replacement surgery each year, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Your shoulder is made up of three bones: the upper arm bone (humerus), shoulder blade (scapula), and collarbone (clavicle). The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint: the ball, or head, of the upper arm bone fits into a shallow socket in the shoulder blade. This socket is called the glenoid. The muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder provide stability and support.

All of these structures allow the shoulder to rotate through a greater range of motion than any other joint in the body.

Body parts can wear out over time, and the shoulder is a prime target for age-related “wear and tear” type of arthritis. It usually occurs in people 50 years of age and older, but may occur in younger people, too. The cartilage that cushions the bones of the shoulder softens and wears away. The bones then rub against one another. Over time, the shoulder joint slowly becomes stiff and painful.

In shoulder replacement surgery, the damaged parts of the shoulder are removed and replaced with artificial components, called a prosthesis. The treatment options are either replacement of just the head of the humerus bone (ball), or replacement of both the ball and the socket (glenoid). The components of the prosthesis consist of a metal head and a plastic socket that recreate the joint surface.

Several other conditions can warrant a shoulder replacement, including rheumatoid arthritis, a previously torn rotator cuff or severe fracture, and a disruption of the blood supply to the shoulder bones, called avascular necrosis.

I can help you and your family determine if a shoulder replacement is right for you. Every case is different, and I urge you to come in for an evaluation if you have severe shoulder pain that interferes with everyday activities, moderate to severe pain that prevents a good night’s sleep, loss of motion and/or weakness in the shoulder and a failure to improve after treatment with anti-inflammatory medicines, cortisone injections or physical therapy.

Stay young!

Dr. Alberta

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