Tulane Orthopaedics

Problems & Conditions

Total Shoulder Replacement

Today, about 53,000 people in the United States have shoulder replacement surgery each year, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Often, this surgery has been used for many other painful conditions of the shoulders, such as different forms of arthritis.

Needing a shoulder replacement typically comes from wear and tear that worsens over many years. There may be a genetic component with a family history of arthritis. Trauma and injury can also cause damage to accelerate arthritis. Often patients complain of pain in their shoulder affecting their quality of life, keeping them awake at night, and keeping them from doing the things you want to be doing. Our team at Tulane will get x-rays to confirm arthritis, and try anti-inflammatory medication and cortisone shots to help with the pain. If nonsurgical treatments, such as medications and activity charges, are no longer helpful in relieving pain, one may want to consider the shoulder joint replacement surgery. It is a safe and effective procedure, which will help relieve pain and help one to resume everyday activities again.

In shoulder replacement surgery, the damaged parts of the shoulder are removed and then replaced with artificial components, which is called prosthesis. The treatment options are either to replace just the head of the humerus bone (ball), or to replace both the ball and the socket (glenoid). You need a functioning rotator cuff to perform a standard shoulder replacement. When you have a large rotator cuff tear with shoulder arthritis, a reverse shoulder replacement is necessary. We can determine if a rotator cuff tear is present with a CT scan or MRI of the shoulder. With using using the Exactech GPS, we are able to perform pre-operative planning to determine the correct size and shape of the implant to match it to your anatomy and your shoulder, and then the navigation shows us exactly where to put the implant in the bone so it is in the perfect position. This will improve patient outcomes and the longevity of the implants.