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Reverse shoulder replacement

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Learn more about shoulder replacements at King Edward VII’s Hospital

If you choose to have your treatment with us you can be rest assured you’ll receive the best possible care. As part of our wrap around care before, during and after you’re replacement you’ll be able to access Joint School where you’ll have dedicated 1 on 1 time with a team of clinical nurse specialists and physiotherapist. This dedicated service will give you the ability to get personalised advice to enhance your healing journey and get back to feeling like yourself again quicker. Find out more. 

Why would I need reverse shoulder replacement surgery?

Reverse shoulder replacement surgery replaces the surfaces of the bones of the shoulder joint that have become damaged or worn. It’s called a “reverse” procedure because the ball and joint socket of the shoulder is reversed. A prosthetic ball replaces the original socket and a prosthetic socket replaces the original ball.

Most people who require reverse shoulder replacement surgery need it because they have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis that is causing severe pain and mobility problems that are affecting their quality of life.

What symptoms does reverse shoulder replacement surgery address?

Reverse shoulder replacement surgery reduces pain and improves the freedom of movement of the shoulder and upper arm. This helps to restore quality of life and make everyday tasks easier.

When should you speak to your specialist about reverse shoulder replacement surgery?

If you have shoulder pain and problems with shoulder and arm mobility that’s affecting your quality of life, speak to your specialist. They may perform some tests and scans and may refer you for reverse shoulder replacement surgery.

How is reverse shoulder replacement surgery performed?

Reverse shoulder replacement surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic meaning that you’ll be asleep throughout. This kind of surgery usually takes around two hours. You may also be given a nerve block to block the pain signals from the nerves in your shoulder to provide pain relief when you wake from surgery.

Your surgeon will make a surgical cut in the skin of your shoulder area. They will then surgically remove the damaged bone and tissue and fix the prosthetic pieces into place using a surgical cement.

Your wound will then be stitched or clipped closed and a dressing applied.

What is the recovery like for reverse shoulder replacement surgery?

Your recovery from reverse shoulder replacement surgery will depend on multiple factors, including your age, fitness level and the nature of your procedure.

Most patients require a night in hospital following reverse shoulder replacement surgery. When you recover from your anaesthetic, you will be wearing a sling.

Your nursing team will give you advice from your surgeon on how best to recover including how long to wear your sling for. Your physiotherapy team will give you exercises to perform at home to aid your recovery.

Most patients require six to eight weeks off work and their normal activities.

Are there any risks/complications associated with reverse shoulder replacement surgery?

As with any medical procedure, it’s possible for risks or complications to arise. Speaking with your specialist or surgeon beforehand will help you avoid any adverse reactions.

Reverse shoulder replacement surgery has a relatively low risk of serious complications, but the following risks and complications can occur in a small number of cases:

  • Infection
  • Stiffness or pain in the shoulder joint
  • Nerve damage
  • Blood vessel damage
  • Blood clots
  • Shoulder dislocation
  • Loosening of the prosthetics

How can I prepare for reverse shoulder replacement surgery?

Prior to reverse shoulder replacement surgery, your surgeon will discuss with you how best to prepare, as each patient is different with differing needs.

Common preparations for reverse shoulder replacement surgery include:

  • Routine blood tests, x rays or scans as requested by your surgeon
  • Taking steps to stop smoking if you smoke
  • Losing weight if you’re overweight
  • Remaining active and doing regular exercise

Are there alternatives for reverse shoulder replacement surgery?

You may be able to manage your shoulder pain and discomfort with painkillers, physiotherapy or steroid injections or a combination of all three.

Call 020 7467 4344 or fill in your details below to make an enquiry
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