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Shoulder Replacement

at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital

At Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, our highly trained orthopaedic surgeons are experienced in shoulder replacement implant systems. Because of old age or an injury, your shoulder joints might become severely damaged. Treating them usually requires medication and physical therapy, but if the pain still remains, shoulder replacement surgery might be needed.

The shoulder joint allows humans to do a wide range of motions with their arms. The humerus, which is rounded at the top, is held in place by muscles, ligaments, and tendons into the shoulder joint, called the "ball and socket". There, the cartilage keeps the bones from rubbing against each other and this creates normal arm movement. If either the cartilage or the head of the humerus gets damaged, the patient will feel severe pain in his shoulder, and shoulder movements will be restricted.

Shoulder replacement surgery replaces a part of the humerus' head and the cartilage to help the patient regain movement in his arm.

The patient is put under general anesthesia so he doesn't feel any pain during the procedure.

The surgeon makes an incision over the shoulder area and separates the muscles in order to get to the shoulder joint.

The humerus’s head, also known as the "ball", is cut, and the bone is hollowed out.

Inside the hole, the doctor inserts a metal head to replace the diseased bone part.

The surgeon then reshapes the shoulder socket and attaches a plastic replacement with bone cement.

The humerus and the socket are then joined together to form the new joint. The muscles are reattached and the incision is stitched.

These are the benefits of getting this procedure:

  • The patient will regain the lost mobility in his arm
  • Day-to-day activities will be performed normally again
  • The patient will stop suffering from constant pain in the shoulder
  • The patient’s level of comfort will be significantly higher

After the surgery, the patient will have to remain in the hospital between 2 and 5 days, so he can be properly monitored. The shoulder area will be swollen and it will hurt. After discharged from the hospital, the patient will have to keep his shoulder mostly immobile and wear his arm in a sling. He will also be prescribed painkillers. The patient will have to attend physical therapy. He will be allowed to use his arm for light activities approximately 6 weeks after the surgery. Months may pass until he regains his former strength and range of motion in his arm. After a year, he will have to do follow-up visits to the hospital.

There are some complications that can appear after the surgery. The wound may get infected and there could be local bleeding around the joint. The patient might also be at risk of shoulder dislocation when the ball slips out of its socket. Rare complications include nerve damage which might lead to stiffness and numbness in the arm.