Shoulder replacement surgery may be an option when the shoulder is completely worn out from arthritis or has had a significant injury in the past that is not reconstructable and leads to constant pain that interferes with sleep and quality of life. Generally, an attempt is made to treat all conditions conservatively with things like physical therapy, injections, medication and activity modification. If those things fail to allow desired pain relief, a shoulder replacement may be necessary.
In the setting of a chronic rotator cuff tear, some patients will develop significant arthritis which causes further pain and dysfunction. In this situation a standard shoulder replacement will not do well and these patients may benefit from a ‘reverse total shoulder replacement’. This is a change in the design that allows very good pain relief and generally increased function in people with arthritis and a large rotator cuff tear.
For more information on total shoulder replacements click here.