Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder Joint

Phoenix Rehabilitative Shoulder ProcedureShoulder Anatomy
Medical Illustration © 2012 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

The human shoulder is essentially a ball and socket joint. Unlike the ball and socket joint of the hip, the shoulder has great mobility and range of motion. This mobility is dependent upon an elaborate array of muscles, tendons and ligaments which make the shoulder one of the most complex joints in the body.

Shoulder Anatomy

The socket of the shoulder, or glenoid, is part of the scapula (shoulder blade) and the ball is on the top end of the arm bone (humerus). With the help of the muscles of the shoulder (the deltoid and rotator cuff muscles), the humerus moves and rotates within the socket, raising and twisting your arm.


The most common source of shoulder pain is arthritis. More than 40 million people in the United States suffer from some form of the disease. There are four main types of arthritis.

  • Osteoarthritis (“wear and tear” arthritis) occurs when the smooth tissues on the joint surfaces (cartilage) break down leaving the underlying bone to grind on bone. Not only does this lead to popping and catching sensations and loss of shoulder motion, but it can also be quite painful.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic (whole body) disease in which all joints are susceptible. More commonly seen in women, rheumatoid arthritis is a result of the body's immune system creating chemicals that attack and destroy the joint surfaces.
  • Traumatic arthritis may occur when the joint is injured from a fracture, ligament tear or dislocation, which may lead to disruption of the normally smooth joint surface. This joint is then more susceptible to arthritis.
  • Rotator Cuff Tear Arthroplasty is a small but special category of arthritis where a massive, irreparable rotator cuff tear is present. Special considerations are required to best treat this form of shoulder arthritis.

How to Manage Shoulder Arthritis

The initial management for shoulder arthritis consists of non-surgical treatments such as medications, physical therapy and activity modification. When these fail to provide substantial relief, a shoulder replacement may be considered. Today more than 25,000 shoulder replacements are performed in the United States annually. Using your X-rays, you and your surgeon will decide if your pain and loss of mobility are enough to justify considering a shoulder replacement surgery and a Phoenix rehabilitative shoulder procedure.

Shoulder replacement surgery essentially involves replacement of the worn out joint surfaces. There are several kinds of shoulder implants designed to address specific patient needs, individual anatomy, and arthritis type. There are also a myriad of factors that your surgeon will consider in order to select the type of replacement that is best for your shoulder. What works well for one patient may not be the best choice for another.

Preparing for Shoulder replacement surgery

One to two weeks prior to surgery, the Banner CORE Center for Orthopedics may request a medical evaluation to be completed by your family doctor. The purpose of this “medical clearance” evaluation is to ensure any medical conditions, such as a urinary tract infection, high blood pressure, or heart disease, are detected and treated appropriately prior to your surgery. Your surgeon will provide you with a list of items for your family doctor to review and report on during your evaluation. This will help minimize the chance of your surgery being postponed and rescheduled. Typically this process consists of blood work, a chest X-ray and an EKG. Your orthopedic surgeon will obtain a copy of the “medical clearance report” from your family doctor or internist as well as any laboratory, X-ray and EKG results prior to your surgery.

The length of your hospital stay varies greatly depending on the type of surgery you have. For Phoenix rehabilitative shoulder procedure, two to three days is a common time frame, but this can be longer or shorter depending on your individual case.

Care after Shoulder replacement surgery

After your surgery you will be taken to a recovery room where you will be given pain medicine to keep you comfortable and your arm will typically be in a sling or shoulder brace. Your doctor will keep you in that room until you have recovered completely from the anesthesia. You will then be taken to your hospital room and be introduced to your hospital floor nursing team.

Depending on the time of day you arrive to your room, you may be visited by a member of the physical therapy team to review and initiate your shoulder exercises. In some cases, this will begin on the following morning.

Thousands of patients have experienced an improved quality of life after shoulder joint replacement surgery. They experience less pain, improved motion and strength, and better overall shoulder function. An understanding of the steps involved both before and after your surgery will help you avoid any pitfalls and maximize your recovery.

At the Banner CORE Center for Orthopedics in Phoenix, we provide best-in-class surgical and non-surgical treatment options for those suffering from chronic shoulder pain. If you are interested in Phoenix rehabilitative shoulder procedures, call us today at 1.855.409.7520 to set up an appointment for Knee Replacement Surgery, Hip Replacement & Shoulder Replacement Surgery.