Shoulder Replacement Surgery in New Orleans

Shoulder Replacement Surgery in New Orleans, LAShoulder arthritis is a debilitating condition that causes joint inflammation, pain and discomfort, and limits range of motion. While most patients may benefit from nonsurgical pain management techniques, some may require shoulder replacement surgery to remove the diseased bone and properly alleviate pain. Continue reading to learn more, or schedule an appointment with Dr. Junius at Crescent City Orthopedics to find out whether you are a candidate for this procedure.

As the most mobile joint in the human body, the shoulder is prone to injuries occurring in everyday activities, strenuous exercise, or traumatic events. Damage to the shoulder's components can limit the joint's range of motion, cause pain during movement, and eventually lead to arthritis, a degenerative breakdown of the joint’s protective cartilage.

Anatomy of the Shoulder

The main shoulder joint, known as the glenohumeral joint, is comprised of two bones: the humerus, or upper arm bone, and the scapula, or shoulder blade. The rounded head of the humerus rests within a cavity on the scapula known as the glenoid fossa. The cavity is shallow, and only allows the ball to rest on the socket like a golf ball on a tee.

The surfaces of the humeral head and the glenoid fossa are covered with a layer of articular cartilage, a soft fibrous material that reduces the effect of friction on the joint as the bones move against one another.

To stabilize the joint, a piece of cartilage called the labrum forms a ring around the shallow glenoid, increasing its depth. The ring of cartilage helps keep the joint in place to reduce the risk of dislocation.

Ligaments help hold the bones together, with tendons attaching arm muscles to the shoulder. A set of muscles (known as the rotator cuff) covers the scapula and helps extend the arm upward.

Cause of Shoulder Injuries & Arthritis

The shoulder's components work together to protect the shoulder during routine movements and physical activity; however, these components are often injured as a result of repetitive motion, causing pain, discomfort, and limited range of motion. Damage to the articular cartilage or the labrum can accelerate degeneration of the joint's components, leading to a condition known as osteoarthritis.

Causes of Osetoarthritis

As a degenerative condition, osteoarthritis is usually caused by repetitive motions breaking down cartilage over time. As patients age and friction takes a toll on the protective components, the soft cartilage becomes brittle and less capable of protecting the joint. These repetitive motions eventually break down bones, resulting in pain, inflammation, and discomfort when moving the arm.

Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder

Also known as "wear-and-tear arthritis", osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that makes movement painful and difficult. Patients with shoulder arthritis may find it difficult to raise their arm to reach a shelf or even turn a key. Pain is most concentrated in the back of the shoulder, and may intensify as weather changes occur.

Treating Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder

Patients with mild cases of arthritis may be able to manage the symptoms through conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, pain medications, and activity modification. Other noninvasive approaches include:

  • Immobilization – resting the shoulder to avoid painful movements
  • Physical Therapy – exercises that strengthen the supporting muscles and tendons to alleviate stress placed on the damaged components
  • NSAID (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) – medications that reduce inflammation and pain

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Junius at his Metairie offices »

Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Most patients will benefit from symptom management and other conservative treatments; however, some patients may continue to experience arthritic pain that interacts with everyday activities, makes sleeping difficult, and interferes with normal range of motion. These more severe cases of osteoarthritis may require surgical intervention. In these cases, shoulder replacement surgery is a safe and effective method of removing diseased bone and replacing the joint with an orthopedic prosthetic implant.

Shoulder replacement is usually performed by removing the humeral head, replacing it with a metal ball component with a stem fitting into the neck of the bone, and resurfacing the glenoid fossa to fit it with a plastic socket.

Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery

In some cases of severe shoulder arthritis, patients may have a comorbidly torn rotator cuff that prevents the surgeon from performing a traditional shoulder replacement. In these cases, the surgeon may perform a reverse total shoulder replacement, in which the ball and socket positions are reversed. A metal ball is attached to the glenoid fossa, while a plastic socket is attached to the upper arm bone. This reversal allows the shoulder to rely on the deltoid muscle to raise the arm, as opposed to the rotator cuff.

Read about shoulder surgery for sports injuries »

After Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Post-operative recovery times vary for each patient; however, patients should expect several months of physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises that strengthen the shoulder joint's supporting muscles.

For the first two to four weeks after surgery, the surgeon may suggest that the patient wear a sling while at home. Within two weeks of surgery, most patients are able to perform mundane activities such as eating, dressing, and grooming.

Shoulder Replacement Surgery in New Orleans, LA

Dr. R. William Junius III is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with a sub-specialty board certification in sports medicine serving patients in New Orleans from his office in Metairie. Dr. Junius advocates minimally invasive surgical techniques for joint replacement and sports injuries whenever possible, and strives to provide patients with safe and comfortable treatment options. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Junius at Crescent City Orthopedics to learn more about shoulder arthritis treatment and joint replacement surgery.