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Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Contributed by : Dr. Eileen Tay
Orthopaedic Surgeon

Shoulder joint replacement is a type of surgery that removes the damaged cartilage and bone in your shoulder joint and replaces them with an artificial shoulder consisting of metal and plastic implants. Shoulder replacement surgery can be performed for several conditions such as osteoarthritis, severe rotator cuff tears, and severe fractures.

Shoulder replacement can help alleviate pain, improve the range of motion in the shoulder and make activities of daily living such as changing of clothes, toileting and showering much easier.

There are two common types of shoulder replacement. One is the total shoulder replacement, in which the ball-and-socket parts of the joint are both replaced with implants resembling the natural shape of the bones. This can be performed for patients who have osteoarthritis of the shoulder and an intact rotator cuff. The other type of shoulder replacement is the reverse shoulder replacement, where the ball-and-socket parts of the joint are replaced with the implants that are inversely-shaped from the natural bone structure. This type of surgery is suitable for people who have severe rotator cuff tears or severe fractures.

After the surgery, you may be placed in an arm sling for protection and support for a few weeks. Physiotherapy and gentle shoulder exercises are started the day after the operation to prevent stiffness. Full recovery and normal activities can be resumed around 3 months after the surgery.