Shoulder Arthroplasty - Signs, Symptoms, Treatment

Shoulder Arthroplasty Details

Your shoulder is made up of three bones, namely humerus (the upper bone of your arm), scapula (the shoulder blade), and clavicle (the collar bone). The scapula has a cavity called glenoid cavity which assists the humerus to fit in it. The humerus has a ball shaped end and it fits into the socket shaped glenoid cavity. This is the reason for calling this joint a ball and socket joint. The round head of the humerus and the bone of the glenoid cavity never touch each other and are separated with the help of cartilaginous tissue which helps in effortless movement of the joint. When the cartilage gets damaged due to arthritis or any other reason, doctors place implants or prosthesis into the area to facilitate movement of the joint.  This procedure is known as shoulder arthroplasty.  

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Before Shoulder Arthroplasty

Before the surgery your doctor will ask you to undergo various tests which include X-ray and other imaging techniques. This will help your doctor understand the position and the extent of damage that has happened to the joint. After the diagnosis is complete your doctor will ask about your medical history and will try to understand if you are the fit for the procedure. The main reason for developing the problem is arthritis, it could be age related, or might be required because of an injury. You need to follow any prescribed medicine and should not eat several hours before the surgery.

How it is performed

The surgery is the last method to solve the problem; your doctor may try to give you relief by using various medications and exercises first. However, in certain cases surgery is inevitable. To perform this surgery you will be put under general anesthesia, so you would remain unconscious and would not feel any pain. Your doctor will make incisions around the shoulder area and will take extreme care not to damage any major muscle or blood vessel which can lead to mobility problems later. Your doctor will reach the head of humerus bone, chop it off and scrape out any extra bone tissue with the help of sophisticated instruments. After that your surgeon will make a cavity into the humerus to make place for the stem of the implant to sit. Your surgeon might also do some bone reshaping of the glenoid cavity. After all the required alterations have been made, your surgeon will secure the implants in place with the help of medicated cements and screws and a ball shaped prosthesis is attached to the head of the humerus. Similarly layers of cushioning are also added in the glenoid cavity to help reduce friction and to prevent the bones from contact. This helps in eliminating pain and gives better joint mobility. 


This is a major surgery, though not life threatening. You need to be extra cautious when your wounds are healing. You may allow sufficient movement of the joint upon the consent of your surgeon for regaining the strength and mobility. You will have to take pain killers initially for the pain. Do not skip sessions with your physiotherapist for faster and better guided healing.

Potential Risks

Potential risks include damaged shoulder muscles which can lead to some mobility problems. Other risks include implant fracture, this is majorly the case with overweight people or people who are involved in physically demanding tasks. At times poor assessment from your surgeon regarding the physical strength of your bone may lead to disappointment. Infections in big wounds are common, they can be avoided by maintaining good personal hygiene and by replacing bandages as and when required.

Cost for Shoulder Arthroplasty

India from $6,000
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