The Center for Orthopedics now offers reverse total shoulder replacement—a groundbreaking surgical procedure performed by only a small number of leading orthopedic surgeons in the U.S.
After having a reverse total shoulder replacement, I’m pain-free and I feel like can do just about everything.
–Robert, age 78
What is reverse total shoulder replacement?
Reverse total shoulder replacement, or reverse total shoulder arthroplasty, is a procedure to reconstruct a shoulder that was previously thought to be non-operable—such as a shoulder with a rotator cuff tear, re-tear, deficiency, tendon rupture, severe fracture or advanced arthritis.
“Patients also come to the Center for Orthopedics for a reverse total shoulder replacement after having undergone a failed partial or complete shoulder replacement elsewhere,” says Robert Zanotti, MD, who performed the first reverse total shoulder replacement in Lorain County, Ohio in 2007.
Dr. Robert Zanotti answers questions about reverse total shoulder replacement
Why is the procedure called ‘reverse’ total shoulder replacement?
“The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint—the rounded portion of the upper arm is the ball and a shallow, dish-shaped structure attached to the shoulder blade is the socket.
“A reverse total shoulder procedure reverses the ball and socket—that is, the ball portion of the replacement joint is attached to the shoulder blade and the cup, or socket, is attached to the upper arm. This uniquely positions the arm back in the socket.”
How does reversing the ball and socket affect the use of the arm?
“Reverse total shoulder replacement changes the mechanics of the shoulder, allowing the joint to maneuver without a functional rotator cuff. The procedure also relieves the pain of a torn rotator cuff, caused by cartilage rubbing on bone.
“A reverse total shoulder replacement allows you to use your deltoid muscle—the triangular muscle on the ‘cap’ of the shoulder—instead of your rotator cuff to lift your arm.”
Who is a candidate for reverse total shoulder replacement?
“Reverse total shoulder surgery is normally performed on patients age 65 and older. If you have severe shoulder arthritis pain and can’t lift your arm at all, you may be a candidate. You might have been getting cortisone shots or taking pain medications for years and have been told, ‘That’s the way you’ve got to live.’
“Now, reverse total shoulder replacement allows us to fix shoulders like these—so you can live pain-free and be able to lift your arms once again.”
Why wouldn’t a conventional shoulder replacement work?
“To be a candidate for a conventional shoulder replacement, you need to have an intact rotator cuff. Reverse total shoulder replacement is for patients without an intact rotator cuff.”
Where was the reverse total shoulder technique developed?
“The reverse total shoulder replacement technique was developed in Europe in the 1980s and greatly refined over the years. In the U.S., the FDA approved reverse total shoulder surgery in 2004. Only a few orthopedic surgeons in the U.S. are trained in this state-of-the-art procedure.”
What results can I expect from a reverse total shoulder replacement?
“After a reverse total shoulder replacement, you should be relieved of the arthritis pain in your shoulder and should have increased mobility in your arm. However, the procedure will not restore your shoulder’s ability to perform heavy work or strenuous sports.”
Will I be in the hospital for a reverse total shoulder replacement?
“Yes. Reverse total shoulder replacement is performed on an inpatient basis. You will probably be in the hospital for two or three days after your surgery.”
How long is the recovery after reverse total shoulder replacement?
“You can expect to return to your normal activities within six to eight weeks after reverse total shoulder replacement surgery.”
Call 440.329.2800 for an appointment today.