Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery

By Gretchen Bolander

Published 03/20 2014 06:16PM

Updated 03/20 2014 10:29PM

Shoulder replacement surgery can be an important step for some patients. And recent changes in how it's done mean a better recovery. Now a look at reverse shoulder replacement.

"Basically, reverse shoulder replacement, instead of doing a standard replacement where you replace the worn out ball with a ball and cup with a cup, it kind of flips it around, upside down - reverse. Where you put the ball on the cup side and the cup on the ball side. What that does it gives the shoulder better stability so you have a fulcrum to be able to raise and do things with the arm." Dr. Robert Lieurance says reverse shoulder replacement can help with three general areas. That includes massive rotator cuff tears, severe cases of arthritis and older patients with severe shoulder fractures. "When a person can't raise their arm from their side this helps other muscles generate that force and restores their overhead function."

Past treatment options didn't necessarily guarantee a patient would regain use of the shoulder and alleviation of their pain. "With a reverse, it's been pretty dramatic in how you could improve their function as well as their pain relief." Patients are generally referred from their primary care physician but can also contact an orthopedic surgeon directly for more information.

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