A total shoulder replacement is most often recommended for patients with the following conditions that have caused significant damage to the shoulder joint:
- Osteoarthritis of the shoulder
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Severe shoulder fractures
With both types of arthritis, inflammation of the joints is caused by the wearing down of protective joint cartilage that causes bones to rub against each other. In addition to pain and stiffness, this joint inflammation can cause abnormal bone growth or bone spurs to develop and can cause the bone itself to become severely damaged. These effects can cause the condition to progress even further, creating a vicious cycle that makes symptoms and damages worse.
Another issue that can be treated with total shoulder replacement is a severe fracture. While shoulder fractures can often heal without the need for surgery, if there is fracturing in multiple locations and the physician is unable to reset the joint properly, total joint replacement can offer the best chance of restoring function and mobility in the shoulder.
Shoulder surgery is almost always considered a last resort treatment and is typically recommended in cases where the pain is severe and debilitating and conservative options, such as medication and physical therapy, are not proving to be effective.