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Shoulder Replacement Surgery – Advantages, Disadvantages and Complications

Shoulder replacement surgery is a choice for treating severe shoulder joint arthritis. Arthritis is an ailment that causes the normal cartilage lining around the joint to erode. When this protective layer erodes there results in painful bones. Severe condition causes shoulder restriction too. Though some simple treatments like medications and lifestyle changes work, shoulder replacement surgery treatment becomes a necessary when the condition goes serious.Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Only after the failure of all forms of non-surgical options such as medication, physiotherapy, injections and splints to relieve pain would an orthopedic recommend a surgery. The pain in the shoulder can be so intriguing that in order to improve the overall quality of life one would have to get it replaced.

Advantages of a Joint Replacement

Let us observe the advantages of the surgery.

  • Firstly, one can expect the pain to either go away or be alleviated to a large extent.
  • The reduction in pain would gradually increase the joint’s range of motion.
  • This replacement surgery of the shoulder joint has been proven successful with many people expressing relief after the surgery.

Shoulder Replacement Surgery Disadvantages of a Joint Replacement

Though shoulder replacement surgery brings a huge relief from pain, it has its own share of disadvantages.

  • An artificial joint can never be a natural one, thus, the range of motion can be limited.
  • There is every chance that these artificial joint get worn out and need to be replaced (may be in ten years time).

Complications with Shoulder Replacement Surgery

This surgery has only a few minor complications which can be cured or treated with no fuss.

Infection – This can be a serious complication and thus many measures are taken before this surgery. In any infection occurs, the entire joint need to be replaced again.

Instability/Dislocation – There may be mischance of improper placement of the implant due to the soft tissues around the shoulder. Therefore the surgeon should be very careful in inserting so that the joint will not be pulled.

Shoulder Replacement Surgery Unleashing of the Implant – The implants may sometimes loosen. Though there are developments being done to produce long lasting implants, still it is not perfected. In case the joint loosens, the surgery is again done.

Damage to Blood Vessels or Nerves – Shoulder joint is a very important place where many structures like blood vessels and nerves pass. There is a chance of these structures to undergo damage in the surgery.

Alternatives to Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Like already mentioned, joint replacement is only a last resort. There are other available alternatives which can be performed depending on the patient’s condition.

Arthrodesis – Joint fusion which can stiffen the joint in order to prevent movement.

Debridement – In patients who only have a mild arthritis, the cartilage in the joint can be cleaned which would reduce pain.

Synovectomy- In cases of severe inflammation, the joint’s lining can be removed.

After the shoulder replacement surgery, it is necessary to follow exercises that are recommended by a physiotherapist. Regular exercise while in the hospital and at home can improve the healing process allowing the joint to last for at least 10 years.

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