Joint Replacement Surgery
Joints are formed by the ends of two or more bones connected by tissue called cartilage. Healthy cartilage serves as a protective cushion, allowing smooth, low-friction movement of the joint. If the cartilage becomes damaged by disease or injury, the tissues around the joint become inflamed, causing pain. With time, the cartilage wears away, allowing the rough edges of bone to rub against each other, causing more pain.
In addition, the shoulder joint relies on the four rotator cuff tendons to work properly. These tendons keep the ball portion of the joint (the humerus) centered in the relatively shallow socket (the glenoid). If the rotator cuff is torn and cannot be repaired, the humerus contacts other parts of the shoulder, which can also be a source of pain and can accelerate arthritis in the joint. This is known as rotator cuff tear arthropathy.
Shoulder joint replacement is usually performed when the joint is severely damaged by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, rotator cuff tear arthropathy, avascular necrosis (spontaneous death of the bone) and failed former shoulder replacement surgery.
When the pain or damage is severe enough, patients may elect to have a total shoulder replacement or reverse shoulder replacement. To replace a total joint, a surgeon removes the diseased or damaged parts and inserts artificial parts, called prostheses or implants.
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