Reverse Shoulder replacement is an alternative surgery for patients who have torn their rotator cuffs and have developed severe arthritis or who have had a previous total shoulder replacement that has failed to relieve their pain. Rotator cuff is the group of four tendons that join the head of the humerus (arm bone) to the deeper muscles and provides stability and mobility to the shoulder joint.
The surgery is done under regional or general anesthesia. An incision is made over the affected shoulder to expose the shoulder joint. In normal procedure, metal ball is placed at end of upper arm bone and the socket into the shoulder bone. However in a reverse shoulder replacement, the metal ball is attached to the shoulder bone and the socket is placed at the end of the upper arm bone. By switching the prosthetics, the patient will now be able to use their deltoid muscle, instead of the torn rotator cuff, to enable lifting of their arm. After the artificial components are implanted the joint capsule is stitched and the wound is closed.
Reverse Shoulder replacement surgery is performed through a larger open incision due to the complexity of the operation and usually involves a hospital stay of a few days.