What is Total Shoulder Arthroplasty?

A shoulder replacement is called a total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA). This surgery is most commonly performed when osteoarthritis has become so severe that more conservative treatments such as injections, physical therapy, and medications are no longer effective in treating the symptoms. Osteoarthritis can occur in all joints and is best thought of as progressive thinning of your articular cartilage.

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

Photo Credit: ISMI

This can occur because of prior trauma to the shoulder or it may develop without a known cause. The decision to go forward with surgical treatment is one made with your surgeon. Evaluation includes your history, physical, and X-ray examination. Symptoms of shoulder arthritis commonly seen are pain, loss of motion, and sometimes mechanical symptoms such as grinding or popping.

Is Surgical Treatment Needed?

This surgery is usually done as an outpatient but may sometimes require one night in the hospital. In the preoperative holding area the anesthesiologist will offer the option of a nerve block. This is a brief procedure that will cause the arm to feel numb and remain pain-free after the surgery for 12-18 hours.

Photo Credit: Tornier

The surgery itself involves replacing the worn out ball and socket with a an artificial joint made of metal and plastic. A new state of the art technique offered at ISMI involves the use of a stemless humeral component. This method of replacement is a less invasive, bone sparing procedure that recreates the normal anatomy of the shoulder. This allows for improved range of motion and function after completing the rehabilitation program.

What Post-Op Care is Needed?

It is important that you have someone with you who can help with simple tasks over the first 24 hours. A sling is used post procedure and may be used at needed. It is very important that you avoid any active internal rotation, such as to pull a car door open. And avoid any passive external rotation for 6 weeks following the surgery. No additional motion restrictions will be necessary and therefore most patients are able to use the arm effectively within days of the surgery. A physical therapist assistance will ensure you regain your motion and strength as quickly as possible. Most patients are back to all normal activity by 6 weeks from their surgical date. A golf swing may take as long as three months for comfort.

To set up an appointment for further evaluation, please call (208) 336-8250.

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“You don’t play sports to get fit, you get fit to play sports.”