Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty is a type of Shoulder Joint Replacement surgery which addresses not only glenohumeral arthritis, but also shoulder instability.  With a traditional Total Shoulder Replacement or arthroplasty, the arthritic surfaces of the glenohumeral joint are smoothed and a prosthetic cup is placed in the glenoid or shoulder socket and a prosthetic ball is inserted into the end of the humerus or arm bone to replace the “ball and socket” joint.  This type of surgery is very successful at relieving arthritic pain in patients who have intact rotator cuff tendons and other soft tissue structures to support the new prosthetics and provide good range of motion. 

Patients who have shoulder instability due to deficient rotator cuff tendons may benefit from a Reverse or Inverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty.  This surgery is designed specifically for the treatment of glenohumeral arthritis when it is associated with irreparable rotator cuff damage, complex fractures or to revise a failed conventional Total Shoulder Arthroplasty as a result of deficient rotator cuff tendons.  Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty reverses the placement of the prosthetics.  Instead of the prosthetic cup being placed in the glenoid socket, it is placed at the end of the arm bone or humerus.  And, instead of the prosthetic ball begin placed at the end of the arm bone, the ball is placed in the glenoid socket.  By reversing the location of the prosthetics, the shoulder’s center of rotation is altered enabling the deltoid muscle to compensate for the deficient rotator cuff.  As a result, the deltoid muscle becomes the primary elevator of the shoulder joint enabling patients to elevate their shoulder and often to raise their arm overhead.

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  • The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • The Ohio State University
  • Virginia