Shoulder Replacement: When It Becomes a Viable Option

The joints in your body give you the range of motion needed to reach into high cabinets, throw a ball, and jump into the pool, but joints wear over time. The knee and hip joints experience the most degradation over time, which explains why 900,000 Americans have knee and hip replacement surgery every year.

The shoulder joint also sustains damage, but full replacement surgery isn’t quite as common. About 53,000 people undergo shoulder replacement each year, plus many more who turn to nonsurgical treatments. If you are experiencing severe and chronic shoulder pain, how do you know when replacement is a viable option?

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

Many different conditions may cause shoulder pain and disability over time. Osteoarthritis, the degenerative joint disease, is the most common culprit. This wear and tear arthritis destroys cartilage until the bones of the shoulder rub against one another. OA causes stiffness and pain that can be remedied with surgery.

Rotator cuff tears also cause ongoing shoulder pain. When the rotator cuff tears beyond 50% thickness, surgery is often needed to repair the tear and restore range of motion. However, if a significant tear goes untreated for too long it can trigger arthritis that destroys joint cartilage and requires shoulder replacement.

Signs You Are a Candidate For Shoulder Replacement

While there are many nonsurgical shoulder treatments available, shoulder replacement may be the best option if any of the following describe your current condition:

  • Severe shoulder pain prevents you from completing everyday activities like dressing and washing
  • You experience moderate to severe pain at rest
  • Pain prevents you from sleeping
  • Less invasive treatments like cortisone injections and physical therapy have not worked

Finding An Orthopedic Surgeon You Can Trust

A shoulder replacement surgery is a serious procedure that should only be completed by a competent and experienced orthopedic surgeon. If you think a shoulder replacement surgery could be the solution to your pain, find a surgeon you can trust by calling Suncoast Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine at (941) 485-1505.