Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

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Evolution of Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

The modern era of shoulder replacement began in the 1950s, but the techniques and implants we most commonly see today were developed in the 1980s. Thankfully, the technology and techniques are continually improving to what we utilize today and this procedure is one that has shown a great leap in technologic advancement. Total shoulder replacement (also referred to as “arthroplasty”) involves removing the arthritic portions of the shoulder, or glenohumeral, joint. Once they are removed, metal implants and a specialized plastic are placed within the humerus and glenoid that comprise the shoulder joint.

These implants may be secured to and within the bone with with cement, or “press fit”, meaning the implant is essentially wedged into the bone and has an extremely high friction type of metal that locks it into the bone. There is a traditionally a polyethylene component placed between the humeral head and the glenoid, or the glenoid component may be entirely made of polyethylene. There are newer techniques, depending on the pathology of the shoulder and the rotator cuff integrity, that may utilize a “Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty”. where the glenoid component is spherical and convex and the humeral component is concave. After surgery, patients can begin a physical therapy program aimed at rebuilding strength and improving range of motion

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