Shoulder is the most elastic among all other joints within the human body & has the greatest range of motion. Shoulder replacement surgery, also known as ‘shoulder arthroplasty’ is the third most common joint replacement surgery after knee & hip joints which are being performed for a variety of orthopedic conditions. According to latest studies, 80 percent of the patients who suffer from different forms of arthritis or degenerative joint disease of shoulder get dramatic relief from painful conditions by undergoing shoulder arthroplasty. If there is a fracture in shoulder of patients which causes extreme pain & limits range of motion, then they can perform this tremendously successful procedure to get rid of discomfort & stiffness. At present, due to great benefits, shoulder replacement surgery is a highly preferred method to treat patients all over the world who suffer from diseases of end-stage shoulder arthritis & severe shoulder joint fracture.
What is Shoulder Replacement Surgery?
Shoulder joint is a ball & socket joint built up of four bony parts, collar bone, humeral head, shoulder blade & glenoid cavity. Surgical approach is convenient when both glenoid & humeral head are damaged or arthritic in order to get shoulder to regain proper function. In shoulder replacement surgery, damaged parts of shoulders are removed & replaced with prosthesis which are basically artificial components made of different materials. Treatment alternatives are either substitution of just head of the ball (humerus) or replacement of both ball & socket (glenoid). Following shoulder replacement surgery, many patients return back to sports they love such as swimming, tennis & golf while also pursuing personal health initiatives such as yoga & individual training.
Various conditions can cause shoulder disability & lead patients to consider shoulder replacement surgery as a treatment option. Some of the causes of shoulder pain are listed below.
Decision to implement shoulder replacement surgery is taken by orthopedic surgeons & patients. There are certain reasons why orthopedic surgeons may recommend shoulder replacement surgery for patients. Following list gives an idea of candidacy of patients to undergo shoulder replacement surgery.
- Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease - Osteoarthritis is an age-related type of painful arthritis disease. Generally, it appears in people 45 years of age & older, but may also happen among younger people. Cartilage cushioning bones of shoulders eventually weaken & wear out, so as to cause bones to rub against each other. Unfortunately, there is no dedicated approach to limiting development of osteoarthritis. It is one of the most common reasons why patients undergo shoulder replacement surgery.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis - In this condition of arthritis, synovial membrane that encloses the joint becomes thickened & inflamed. This chronic inflammation can harm the cartilage & ultimately cause pain, loss & stiffness in joints.
- Post-Traumatic Arthritis - This type of arthritis can follow a serious injury to the shoulder. Bone fractures that make up shoulder or tears of shoulder ligaments or tendons may affect articular cartilage adversely over time. This eventually causes excessive shoulder pain that limits function of the shoulder joint.
- Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy - Patients with large rotator cuff tear may grow cuff tear arthropathy. Various changes in shoulder joint caused due to rotator cuff tear generally lead to arthritis & destruction of joint cartilage.
- Osteonecrosis or Avascular Necrosis - It is a painful condition that develops when supply of blood to bone is disturbed. Bone cells die without blood supply & this can finally cause permanent destruction of the shoulder joint & lead to arthritis. Deep sea diving, chronic steroid use, severe fracture of shoulder, sickle cell disease & excessive alcohol consumption are risk factors for Osteonecrosis.
- Severe Fractures - Severe shoulder fracture is another reason people undergo shoulder replacement surgery. Elder patients with osteoporosis condition are mostly at risk for getting shoulder fractures.
Loss of motion & progressive stiffness along with a grating sensation within the shoulder joint of the patient may lead to serious complications. Patients must therefore visit orthopedic surgeons in order to diagnose the underlying cause & determine whether shoulder replacement surgery is required to eliminate these problems. Orthopedic surgeons will evaluate patients on the basis of following tests.
- Daily Activities - When patients suffer from severe shoulder pain that interferes with daily activities like dressing, toileting, washing & reaching a cabinet.
- Disturbed Sleep - When patients experience mild to severe pain even while resting. This severe pain may be enough to disturb a patient’s good night's sleep.
- Weakness - When patients suffer from loss of motion & weakness in their shoulder joint.
- No Improvement With Medications - When painful condition of patients fail to substantially improve with other traditional treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications or physical therapy.
Following are the types of shoulder replacement surgery options available to patients. Orthopedic surgeons will suggest the most suitable type of treatment depending upon the situation of patients. They will identify & recommend type of replacement that would best meet health needs of the patient. Patients should not hesitate to ask anything related to their shoulder replacement surgery in discussion with the orthopedic surgeon during appointment.
- Health - Orthopedic surgeons will ask details about medical status of patients & degree of shoulder pain that they are experiencing.
- Physical Test - Orthopedic surgeons will take a complete physical test in order to understand the underlying shoulder problem. This will assess shoulder strength & mobility.
- X-Ray Images - These sharp images will determine the root cause of shoulder problem & degree of damage. It can show irregularities in shape of bone, loss of normal joint space & bone spurs that may be present.
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) - MRI scans will help determine precise condition of gentle tissues of the patient’s shoulder.
- EMG Test - Patients with possible nerve damage can be advised to take an EMG test to examine significant nerves which feed muscles of the shoulders.
Patients should to talk to orthopedic surgeons about their current medications & health conditions. Surgeons may ask to discontinue some medications before surgery. Following medications may result in excessive bleeding & therefore should be discontinued few weeks before shoulder replacement surgery.
- Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery – This procedure comprises substituting arthritic shoulder joint surfaces with a polished metal ball joined to a stem & a plastic socket. Components are available in various sizes which may either be cemented or press-fit into shoulder bone. If quality of bone is good, surgeons may opt for a non-cemented humeral component. Patients with intact rotator cuff tendons & bone-on-bone osteoarthritis are usuallyappropriate candidates for total shoulder replacement surgery.
- Stemmed Hemiarthroplasty - Depending upon the severity of shoulder problem, orthopedic surgeons may only replace the ball. This procedure is named as hemiarthroplasty. In conventional hemiarthroplasty, head of humerus is substituted with a metal ball & stem, similar to the component which is used in total shoulder replacement surgery. This procedure is termed as stemmed hemiarthroplasty.
- Resurfacing Hemiarthroplasty - This type of surgery involves replacing joint surface of humeral head with prosthesis without any stem. For younger & active patients resurfacing hemiarthroplasty avoids complications of component loosening that may appear with conventional total shoulder replacement surgery.
- Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement - In reverse total shoulder replacement surgery, metal ball & socket are switched. Socket is attached to upper arm bone & metal ball is attached to the shoulder bone. This is suitable for patients with completely torn rotator cuffs & extreme arm weakness.
When patients arrive home from hospital, they will need help initially for a few weeks with basic daily tasks like bathing, dressing & cooking. Patients should therefore arrange for someone to help them following shoulder replacement surgery.
Patients should clear their doubts related to shoulder replacement surgery with orthopedic surgeons. Patients can take reference from the following list of queries for fulfilling this purpose.
- Anti-Inflammatory Medicines - Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen & aspirin.
- Arthritis Medicines - Most arthritis medications should be stopped in order to recover soon.
- Blood Thinners - Surgeons may ask to stop patients from taking blood thinners before shoulder replacement surgery.
Orthopedic surgeons begin shoulder replacement surgery by separating the pectoral & deltoid muscles so as to enter the shoulder in a nerve-free region to reduce risk of nerve damage. Shoulder is enclosed by rotator cuff & which is then unlocked by cutting one of the front rotator cuff muscles. It enables the surgeon to clearly view & manipulate arthritic portions of the shoulder ball & socket. Once, arthritic areas have been eliminated, orthopedic surgeons insert the implant ball, socket & stem components & then stitch & close rotator cuff muscle at the end. At last, the surgeon would apply a bandage for covering the wound.
Patients will be able to go home either on the first or second day following shoulder replacement surgery. Patients are most likely to experience certain amount of pain for a few days but this is not a serious issue. It is a natural process of healing. Orthopedic surgeons often prescribe some useful medications to reduce pain following surgery. Various medicines are available to control pain, including anti-inflammatory drugs & local anesthetics. Patients start to recover faster as soon as pain begins to diminish within a few days. Pain management is the basic concern of surgeons. Surgeons may then advise physical therapy to patients for improving their shoulder’s strength. Patients must consult orthopedic surgeons in case of any post-operative problems arise. A careful & dedicated approach towards healing will lead to a successful shoulder replacement surgery with improved flexibility of the shoulder.
Orthopedic surgeons will discuss potential complications & several risks associated with shoulder replacement surgery. However, most of these complications which occur during or after surgery are treatable. Some of the most common problems following shoulder replacement surgery are listed below.
- What potential complications may occur with my shoulder replacement surgery?
- When will I recover completely?
- How many days do I need to stay in hospital after my shoulder replacement surgery?
- Will I need full-time care after my surgery?
- Will I need to perform physical therapy? If so, for how long?
- When can I bathe after my surgery?
- How soon will I be able to return to my normal lifestyle activities?
- Which sports can I play after shoulder replacement?
- What are lifting boundaries associated with the artificial joint?
- When is sexual intercourse possible after my shoulder replacement surgery?
- In your opinion, how long will my shoulder joint replacement last?
- What activities can I avoid to make my joint last longer?
Shoulder replacement surgery is a highly beneficial procedure designed to alleviate pain & restore strength in patients with severe shoulder arthritis conditions & shoulder fractures. It is essential for patients to understand that taking proper care & following every guideline of orthopedic surgeons is a key factor in accomplishing maximum benefit of shoulder replacement surgery. According to reports of 2015, shoulder replacement surgery is proven to be highly successful in relieving shoulder pain & other shoulder joint related problems in 95 percent of the patients world-wide. Patients experience pain-free function of the shoulder & which empowers them to exercise sufficiently to accelerate restoration of strength & flexibility. Shoulder replacement surgery is thus a greatly valued choice for a wide range of patients across the world.
- Rotator cuff tears
- Instability in joint
- Stiffness in the shoulder
- Nerve injury
- Fractures in the joint
- Component failure or loosening
- Severe pain
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Detachment of deltoid muscle
Medical Tourism in India for Shoulder Replacement Surgery
India is among the top tourist destinations in the world & it is also rapidly gaining reputation as one of the best medical tourism destinations for international patients. Orthopedic surgeries like shoulder replacement surgery in India are available at affordable prices along with high-quality care. Following advantages make India a preferable destination for shoulder replacement surgery.
- Qualified orthopedic surgeons with specializations & great international experience.
- Setting up of healthcare infrastructure, including five-star provisions & state-of-the-art equipment.
- Overseas patients are able to save about 80 percent of what they would otherwise be expected to shell out in other countries.
- No-waiting time for shoulder replacement surgery.
- Pleasant climate suitable for recuperation & wellness treatments.
Affordable Shoulder Replacement Surgery with Travcure Medical Tourism
Travcure Medical Tourism is one of the best healthcare providers in India. Healthcare experts at Travcure are committed to providing global benchmarked orthopedic surgeries at the lowest prices. Core values of Travcure services include the following.
- Innovation & Efficiency
- Compassionate Care
- Respecting Dignity of every International Patient
All care is strictly maintained by international protocols, so international guests do not need to worry. Travcure offers the best shoulder replacement surgery to global patients. Additional holiday package may also be provided for a successful rejuvenation following shoulder replacement surgery. Rich culture, beautiful rainforests & scenic beauty of India make it one of the most loved medical tourism destinations in the world.