Shoulder Arthroplasty

The shoulder is one of the largest and most complex joints in the human body. The humerus (upper arm bone) and the scapula (shoulder blade) join to form the shoulder joint. It is also referred to as a ball and socket joint and is surrounded by muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Shoulder joint arthroplasty is a surgical procedure performed to replace the damaged shoulder joint with the artificial implants. Shoulder joint arthroplasty is usually performed when the joint is severely damaged by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, rotator cuff tear arthropathy, avascular necrosis and failed former shoulder replacement surgery.

During the surgery an incision is made over the affected shoulder to expose the shoulder joint. The humerus is separated from the glenoid socket of the scapula. The arthritic part of the humeral head and the socket is removed and prepared so as to take the artificial components. The glenoid component is then pressed into the socket, and the humeral component is cemented into the upper arm bone. The humeral head component made of metal is then placed on the humeral stem. The artificial components are fixed in place. The joint capsule is stitched together. The muscle and tendons are then repaired and the skin is closed.

Possible risks and complications specific to shoulder joint arthroplasty surgery include:

  • Infection around an implanted joint
  • Dislocation or instability of an implanted joint
  • Fracture of the humerus or scapula
  • Damage to nerves or blood vessels
  • Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis)
  • Wound irritation
  • Arm length discrepancies
  • Wearing of the joints
  • Scar formation