Do I Need a Shoulder Replacement?
Shoulder arthritis is loss of the smooth gliding cartilage of the ball and socket joint of the shoulder. Shoulder arthritis can arise from many different causes but most frequently results from normal wear and tear. Shoulder arthritis affects patients by causing pain and restricting motion. Treatment options for patients with shoulder arthritis are either symptomatic treatments or surgical treatments. Symptomatic treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, injections, and gentle exercises. When symptomatic treatment options stop giving patients enough relief, surgical options can be considered.
Shoulder replacement surgery is the most predictable surgical treatment option for patients with shoulder arthritis. Although other surgical options exist for certain patients, none has the track record of shoulder replacement surgery. Several types of shoulder replacements can be performed depending on the characteristics of your arthritis and your desired level of post-operative activity. If your shoulder arthritis is giving you enough difficulty in pursuing your activities of interest (golf, tennis, swimming, fishing, etc...) or performing your activities of daily living (dressing, sleeping, bathing, toileting etc...) you may want to consider a shoulder replacement surgery. Many patients who undergo a shoulder replacement are able to return to most of the activities that they enjoy with near normal shoulder function.
Only your orthopedic surgeon will be able to thoroughly assess your shoulder, medical history, and x-rays to determine whether or not you would be a good candidate for a shoulder replacement, and if so, what type of replacement you are best suited for. If an arthritic shoulder is interfering with your life, it may be time to see your orthopedic surgeon to see if he/she can get you back to doing the things that you love.