Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Procedures: Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder Replacement

Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Procedures: Shoulder Replacement, Knee and Shoulder InstituteArthritis of the shoulder joint can be painful, but it does not cause as great a disability as arthritis of the hip or knee. Doctors therefore prefer to treat it using non-surgical methods. Hip and knee replacement surgery are far more common than shoulder replacement surgery. However, shoulder replacement may be performed in patients who do not respond well to non-invasive forms of treatment.

Thomas & Bigler Knee and Shoulder Institute, led by board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven C. Thomas and Dr. Gregory T. Bigler, provides orthopedic surgery to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, while also serving areas such as greater Pahrump, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, and Mesquite, NV.

Implants for Shoulder Replacement

In shoulder replacement surgery, an implant made of metal and plastic is used to replace the natural joint. The metal ball takes the place of the head of the humerus (arm bone) and the plastic cup replaces the glenoid (socket of the shoulder blade). After the surgeon has removed the faulty joint, the implant is accurately positioned and attached in place using cement.

What to Expect During Surgery?

Shoulder replacement surgery is done under general anesthesia. The surgeon may also administer a drug that blocks the nerves in the shoulder region to reduce the amount of pain you experience after the anesthetic effect wears off.

The surgeon first makes a 4 to 6 inch long incision along the front of the shoulder joint. Next, they remove the bone and cartilage affected by arthritis. Using special instruments, the artificial implant is set in place.

The actual replacement surgery will require about two hours; including the preparation and recovery period, the entire procedure may take about three hours.

Most patients will have to stay overnight in the hospital after the surgery. Although efforts are underway to carry out joint replacement on an outpatient basis, it requires extensive education of the patient before the surgery to help them learn how to cope after returning home.

Post-Surgical Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation begins soon after the surgery with a therapist meeting the patient to demonstrate and perform physical therapy. The sling the patient wears after surgery will have to be taken off during the therapy. Most surgeons allow their patients to undertake some movement right after surgery.

Patients generally resume their normal activities within about three months of the surgery. This is the time to begin exercise to strengthen the shoulder muscles and increase their movements.

Risks in Shoulder Replacement Surgery

As in any other surgery, there is the risk of infection after shoulder replacement surgery, too. An infection around the new implant can cause serious complications and so, you must follow the instructions of your doctor to avoid infection.

There is also a risk of breakdown of the bone near the shoulder implant due to contact with the metal and plastic parts or the bone cement used. Some patients may experience instability or dislocation of the implanted joint. In other patients, the implant may loosen over time. People who undertake excessive physical activity involving the shoulders after undergoing this surgery may suffer from a fracture of the implant.

Orthopedic surgeons Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada as well as greater Pahrump, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, and Mesquite, NV for orthopedic surgery.

Contact Board Certified Surgeons Dr. Bigler or Dr. Thomas at the Knee and Shoulder Institute in Las Vegas, NV to Schedule an Appointment:

If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board-certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. Contact the office today click here.

Serving patients from and around greater Las Vegas, Lake Havasu, Bullhead City, Mesquite, Pahrump, Nevada

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9499 West Charleston, Suite 200
Las Vegas, NV 89117