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OAS Health Blog

Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty

May 28, 2013

Because traditional shoulder replacement prostheses are anchored to the rotator cuff tendon,patients whose rotator cuff has been torn or otherwise compromised not only had to cope with the loss of function and mobility but had virtually no hope for relief from pain caused by severe arthritis. The reverse shoulder replacement prostheses first approved for use in this country by the FDA in 2004, but long utilized in Europe, offers enormous pain relief and improved mobility and function.

In standard shoulder replacements , the ball and socket joint is replaced with a plastic/metal implant and depends on the rotator cuff for function. Therefore, patients with massive rotator cuff tears had no stable tendon to support the new joint, eliminating this as a surgical option. Reverse shoulder replacement enables the orthopedic surgeon to rebuild the joint by reversing the ball and socket- attaching the artificial ball to the socket part of the shoulder and the artificial socket to the ball part of the shoulder. This the allows the deltoid muscle to provide function to the shoulder rather then the rotator cuff.

"We can't promise our patients they'll be pitching for the Yankees , but this procedure does relieve the pain and provides some functional mobility for the activities of daily living", says Marc D Silver,MD.

This procedure is an option for men and women typically age 70 and above with rotator cuff arthropathy ,severe shoulder fractures and revision cases.

Dr Silver was of the first surgeons to perform this surgery at Stamford Hospital.

"I pulled my shoulder out of joint by trying to move from sleeping to sitting position. Dr Silver put me in a sling for 6 weeks after putting the shoulder back in position , but it came out within the first week after taking the sling off. Since I had no rotator cuff, I couldn't have a shoulder replacement, so I was delighted to hear about this new procedure. Now ( three months post surgery) this arm is better than my other one! I didn't find the procedure terribly painful, I didn't require pain pills after the third day. I feel wonderful now. It is completely pain free." DG Stamford,CT

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