Shoulder replacement surgery can be an effective way of relieving chronic pain in the shoulder joint. This surgery is an option in cases where shoulder pain and loss of motion interfere with daily activities and the patient has failed to improve with medication, cortisone injections, or physical therapy.

The shoulder is a complex ball and socket joint with a greater range of motion than any other joint in the body. It is made up of three bones: the upper arm bone (humerus), the shoulder blade (scapula) and the collar bone (clavicle). The ball of the upper arm bone fits into a socket in the shoulder blade called the glenoid. In shoulder replacement surgery, the damaged parts of the shoulder are replaced with a man-made prosthesis. Depending on the severity of symptoms and the type and amount of damage, it may be possible to replace just the humerus, but the glenoid must frequently be replaced as well. The prosthetic humerus is attached to the upper arm bone through a “stem” anchored into the bone, while the new glenoid is attached to the shoulder blade.

The Zimmer Anatomical Shoulder™ System

As with any joint surgery, fit is a critical issue in shoulder replacements. That’s why our surgeons use the modular Anatomical Shoulder System™, which allows for the shoulder implant to be tailored to the patient’s individual anatomy. This allows for smoother and more advanced rehabilitation and expands the radius of movement. In addition, the customized Zimmer prosthesis is easier to anchor and puts less stress on the soft tissues around the shoulder, which can be injured by an ill-fitting prosthesis.

The Anatomical Shoulder Inverse/Reverse System

Traditional shoulder replacement uses a prosthesis that functions like the human shoulder, with the ball at the end of the arm bone and the socket on the shoulder blade. The reverse shoulder replacement reverses the ball and socket so that the ball is attached to the shoulder blade, and the socket is attached to the top of the arm bone. This shoulder replacement is designed for patients who don’t have a functioning rotator cuff. A reverse shoulder replacement is designed to make the large shoulder muscle called the deltoid more efficient to compensate for the damaged rotator cuff. Reversing the ball and socket enables the deltoid muscle to lift the arm up overhead and compensate for the torn rotator cuff.

Zimmer prostheses are available for both the conventional and reverse shoulder replacements. Sometimes, a patient needs a surgical revision to a shoulder replacement due to a subsequent injury or torn rotator cuff. Both the Anatomical Shoulder System and the innovative Anatomical Shoulder Inverse/Reverse System facilitate this kind of revision because the prostheses are designed to allow for further surgery, without the surgeon having to remove the previously implanted stem. This both simplifies and shortens revision surgery.

Other Shoulder Procedures

In addition to shoulder replacements, our program offers a full range of shoulder procedures for conditions affecting the bones, ligaments, tendons, and synovial membrane. Wherever possible, our surgeons perform minimally invasive procedures using laparoscopic instruments. This means smaller incisions, less bone loss, less bleeding, less pain, and a faster recovery.

Meet Our Specialists

Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons have received specialized and/or fellowship training in specific procedures and our board-certified anesthesiologists have special experience in orthopedic anesthesia for both planned and emergency surgeries. Use our Physician Finder to learn more about our orthopedic surgeons.