Total Soulder Replacement

Introduction

The shoulder has a greater range of motion than any other joint in our body, but because it can perform so many movements, the shoulder is vulnerable to stress, injury, and arthritis. Arthritis is a major cause of shoulder pain.
Arthritis is a common disease that causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. It affects the cartilage in joints. Cartilage is a very tough, shock absorbing material that covers the ends of many of our bones. The cartilage forms a smooth surface and allows the bones in our joints to glide easily during motion. Arthritis can cause the cartilage to wear away. Loss of the protective lining can cause painful bone on bone rubbing.Severe shoulder arthritis can be quite painful and can cause restriction of motion. While the symptoms of shoulder arthritis may be tolerated with some medications and lifestyle adjustments, there may come a time when surgical treatment is necessary. Shoulder replacement surgery, also called Arthroplasty, involves the replacement of the damaged bone and cartilage with metal and plastic implants. Shoulder Arthroplasty is a treatment option that can relieve pain and restore function. Very often, people tolerate their symptoms for long periods of time because the arm is not a weight bearing extremity. For this reason, arthritis of the shoulder is not as common as in the hip and knee. As such, most people know someone who has had a hip or knee replacement, but many people do not even know that shoulder replacement is an option.

Anatomy

Our shoulder is composed of three bones. The humerus is our upper arm bone. The clavicle is what we call our collarbone. The scapula is the shoulder blade that moves on our back. An part of the scapula, called the acromion, forms the top of the shoulder. There are a total of four joints in our shoulder complex. The humerus and the scapula form the main shoulder joint, the glenohumeral joint.

The glenohumeral joint is not a true ball-in-socket joint like the hip, but it is similar in structure. The top of the humerus is round like a ball. It rotates in a shallow basin, called the glenoid, on the scapula. A group of ligaments, called the joint capsule, hold the ball of the humerus in position. Ligaments are strong tissues that provide stability. In other words, the joint capsule is responsible for holding our arm in place on our body. Several ligaments connect our shoulder bones together. Tendons attach our muscles to our bones. Our muscles move our bones by pulling on our tendons. They move our arms to position our hands for a variety of functions. The shoulder also provides stability when our elbow flexes as we lift objects. The Rotator Cuff tendons connect strong muscles to the humerus bone. These muscles allow the arm to rotate and move upward to the front, back, and side. A fluid-filled sac, called the subacromial bursa, lubricates the rotator cuff tendons allowing us to perform smooth and painless motions. We use the rotator cuff muscles to perform overhead motions, such as lifting up our arms to put on a shirt, comb our hair, or reach for an item on a top grocery shelf. These motions are used repeatedly during sports, such as pitching in baseball, serving in tennis, and passing in football.

Rationale

What conditions lead to shoulder joint replacement?
The most common reason for undergoing shoulder replacement surgery is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by the degeneration of the joint over time, through wear and tear. Osteoarthritis can occur without any injury to the shoulder, but that is uncommon. Because the shoulder is not a weight-bearing joint, it does not suffer as much wear and tear as other joints. Osteoarthritis is more common in the hip and knee.
Most of the time osteoarthritis occurs many years after an injury to the shoulder. For example, a shoulder dislocation can result in an unstable shoulder. The extra movement or repeated dislocation of the unstable joint causes damage to the articular cartilage and other joint tissues. Over time, this damage leads to osteoarthritis.Osteoarthritis is not the only type of arthritis that affects the shoulder joint. Systemic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may affect any joint in the body. Whatever the type or cause of the arthritis, the shoulder may become painful and difficult to use. If you and your doctor can't find ways to control your pain, or if it becomes impossible to use your shoulder for daily tasks, your doctor may recommend shoulder replacement surgery.

Preparation

What do I need to do to get ready for surgery?
Some severe degenerative problems of the shoulder may require replacement of the painful shoulder with an artificial shoulder joint. You and your surgeon should make the decision to proceed with surgery together. You need to understand as much about the procedure as possible. If you have concerns or questions, you should talk to your surgeon.
Once you decide on surgery, you need to take several steps. Your surgeon may suggest a complete physical examination by your regular doctor. This exam helps ensure that you are in the best possible condition to undergo the operation.
You may also need to spend time with the physical or occupational therapist who will be managing your rehabilitation after surgery. This allows you to get a head start on your recovery. One purpose of this pre-operative visit is to record a baseline of information. Your therapist will check your current pain levels, ability to do your activities, and the movement and strength of each shoulder.
A second purpose of the pre-operative visit is to prepare you for surgery. You'll begin learning some of the exercises you'll use during your recovery. And your therapist can help you anticipate any special needs or problems you might have at home, once you're released from the hospital.

On the day of your surgery, you will probably be admitted to the hospital early in the morning. You shouldn't eat or drink anything after midnight the night before. Come prepared to stay in the hospital for several nights. The length of time you will spend in the hospital depends a lot on you.Some severe degenerative problems of the shoulder may require replacement of the painful shoulder with an artificial shoulder joint. You and your surgeon should make the decision to proceed with surgery together. You need to understand as much about the procedure as possible. If you have concerns or questions, you should talk to your surgeon.

Once you decide on surgery, you need to take several steps. Your surgeon may suggest a complete physical examination by your regular doctor. This exam helps ensure that you are in the best possible condition to undergo the operation.You may also need to spend time with the physical or occupational therapist who will be managing your rehabilitation after surgery. This allows you to get a head start on your recovery. One purpose of this pre-operative visit is to record a baseline of information. Your therapist will check your current pain levels, ability to do your activities, and the movement and strength of each shoulder.A second purpose of the pre-operative visit is to prepare you for surgery. You'll begin learning some of the exercises you'll use during your recovery. And your therapist can help you anticipate any special needs or problems you might have at home, once you're released from the hospital.On the day of your surgery, you will probably be admitted to the hospital early in the morning. You shouldn't eat or drink anything after midnight the night before. Come prepared to stay in the hospital for several nights. The length of time you will spend in the hospital depends a lot on you.

The Operation

Shoulder replacement surgery can be done in one of two ways. When the cartilage of both the humeral head (the ball) and the glenoid (the socket) is worn away, both parts of the joint must be replaced. This surgery is called arthroplasty, which is the term used for joint reconstruction.

If the glenoid still has some articular cartilage, your surgeon may replace only the humeral head. This procedure is known as a hemiarthroplasty. (Hemi means half.) The hemi-arthroplasty is most commonly used after a fracture of the shoulder where the blood supply to the ball portion (the humeral head) of the humerus is damaged. Research has shown that when the shoulder is being replaced for arthritis, the complete shoulder arthroplasty performs better. Patients have less pain immediately after surgery and in the long run have a better functioning shoulder with less complications and are less likely to need a second operation.
You will most likely need general anesthesia for shoulder replacement surgery. General anesthesia puts you to sleep. It is difficult to numb only the shoulder and arm in a way that makes such a major surgery possible.
Shoulder replacement surgery is done through an incision on the front of your shoulder. This is called an anterior approach. The surgeon cuts through the skin and then isolates the nerves and blood vessels and moves them to the side. The muscles are also moved to the side.

After Surgery

What happens after surgery?
After surgery, you'll be transported to the recovery room. You will have a dressing wrapped over your shoulder that will need to be changed frequently over the next few days. Your surgeon may have inserted a small drainage tube into the shoulder joint to help keep extra blood and fluid from building up inside the joint. An intravenous line (IV) will be placed in your arm to give you needed antibiotics and medication.

Your shoulder may be placed in a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine immediately after surgery. CPM helps the shoulder begin moving and alleviates joint stiffness. The machine straps to the shoulder and continuously bends and straightens the joint. This motion is thought to reduce stiffness, ease pain, and keep extra scar tissue from forming inside the joint. You'll use a shoulder sling to support your arm when you're not using the CPM machine.