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Considering a Shoulder Replacement?
A shoulder replacement is a surgical procedure, which involves replacing the end of the two bones that form your shoulder with a metal implant. In most cases, the goal of the replacement is to reduce the amount of pain experienced around the shoulder. It is likely you will either have a Total Shoulder Replacement, or a Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement.
The most common indication for needing a shoulder replacement is a combination of Osteoarthritis and pain. However, in some cases, a shoulder replacement is an option where people have had a significant fracture to the shoulder or lost the function of the muscles.
In most cases, shoulder pain can be managed with exercise, activity modification and perhaps medication. When the pain is significantly impacting upon your lifestyle then surgery might be an option.
Did you know?
In most cases, the pain we experience from Osteoarthritis does not mean we are causing harm or making it worse.
Did you know?
Smoking significantly increases the time it takes for your body to heal and recover after an operation. It can also make us more sensitive to pain.
Did you know?
The shoulder is one of the most complex joints of the body. It relies heavily on muscular strength to enable it to function.
How do I know if I need surgery?
Many of the common problems associated with shoulder pain can be managed with a combination of exercise, activity modification and medication. If you have not already done so, talk to a Physiotherapist who will be able to guide you towards the best type of exercise that is most suited to you. Remember that any exercise needs time to take effect.
Remember, if you have had a fracture, osteoarthritis or there has significant tear in the shoulder muscles, then that represents a structural change to your shoulder This means we can't always expect it to behave in the same way it used to. The treatments available may aim to help you manage and reduce symptoms, not fully take it away.
If you have tried exercise, activity modification and medication and are still unable to manage the pain, an X-ray may be taken of the shoulder to look at the amount of change that has happened. It is important to remember that everyone is different and the amount of change we see on an X-ray does not equal the amount of pain or discomfort we experience. You may also have an Ultrasound scan. This helps us understand the condition of the soft tissue (muscles) in the shoulder. Again, it's important to remember that it can be normal to find age related changes on a scan that are not always causing us pain.
You may be offered an injection into the shoulder joint to help settle the pain. The injection contains a powerful anti-inflammatory which can help to settle stiffness, pain and swelling. Injections are best used alongside graded exercise, as the stronger you can get the shoulder to be, the longer the injection can last. You can only have 1 injection every 12 weeks. This limitation is to help prevent further damage to the shoulder.
If you have tried all of the options and you have significant change shown on an x-ray, then you may be referred to an Orthopaedic Consultant.
The decision to have a joint replacement should not be taken lightly. It is important to discuss everything with your family, friends, healthcare professionals and Doctor. The decision usually revolves around how much your shoulder is impacting YOU and YOUR daily life. If you are unsure of this impact, try the Oxford Shoulder Questionnaire here
Advice from a Shoulder Consultant
Charlie Talbot talks about Shoulder Replacement
Mr. Charlie Talbot