Shoulder Replacement Surgery with Dr. Schwartz

Total shoulder replacement can sound daunting and invasive but when done correctly, it can relieve you of nagging aches and pains that once seemed relentless. During shoulder reconstruction surgery the doctor tightens ligaments, repairs cartilage damage, and removes bone spurs to restore full range of motion and relieve stress applied to the shoulder joint. Learn more about total shoulder replacement surgery and the benefits it can have in your life.

Diagram of the shoulder bones and joints


The shoulder joint consists of 3 bones: your upper arm bone (humerus), your shoulder blade (scapula), and your collarbone (clavicle). The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball, or head, of your upper arm bone fits into a shallow socket in your shoulder blade called the glenoid.

The surfaces of the bones where they touch are covered with articular cartilage, creating a smooth surface enabling bones to move frictionless in the socket. A thin membrane covers all remaining surfaces within the shoulder joint. This membrane creates a small amount of fluid to lubricate the cartilage and eliminates almost all friction in the shoulder.

The tendons and muscles surrounding the muscle joint provide stability and range of motion. Because the shoulder is held in place by tendons, ligaments, and muscle rather than bone support, it the most vulnerable joint in the body, making shoulder reconstruction surgery very common.

Surgical Procedure

Total shoulder replacement surgery is performed in a hospital setting with the patient under general anesthesia. The complete joint replacement surgery takes about 2 hours. Your surgeon will make an incision either on the front or the top of your shoulder. The damaged bone will then be removed with the new components positioned to restore function to your shoulder.

In a total shoulder replacement surgery, the arthritic surface of the ball of your joint is replaced with a metal ball and a stem, which fit in the inside of the arm bone (humerus). Then the socket is resurfaced with a high density polyethylene component allowing for frictionless motion. The size of the ball and stem cup depend on the size of your shoulder joint. There is an allowance for movement within the shoulder joint away from, or towards the body, to create more or less distance to correct the tension applied to local ligaments.  Depending on your condition you may need a reverse total shoulder replacement to correct any long term rotator cuff injuries. Consult your local doctor for an expert opinion.

Watch this video for more information.

While researching the benefits of shoulder reconstruction surgery and joint replacement surgeries, keep in mind the importance of the doctor you choose for the operation. Remember that even the worst circumstances can be corrected through expert hands and professional experience in stressful surgical conditions.

To learn more about total shoulder replacement and reverse total shoulder replacement surgery, click here.

Dr. J. Theodore Schwartz

J. Theodore Schwartz, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Schwartz specializes in reconstructive surgery and disorders of the hand, elbow, and shoulder. He has performed hundreds of total shoulder replacement surgeries giving him the most experience in the area. He is a nationally renowned upper extremity surgeon, leading the way in joint replacement exploration and advancements.

Dr. Schwartz completed the Harvard Hand and Upper Extremity Fellowship in Boston, exposing himself to the best in the business. As an expert in total shoulder replacement surgery, Dr. Schwartz is revered in the orthopedic field and is always excited to help new patients get back to full function.

Come in for a consultation. Call 925-362-2179 to schedule a visit!

Post Surgery

Immediately after your joint replacement surgery you will be given antibiotics to prevent infection as well as pain medication to reduce discomfort. You will be given a sling to wear to avoid strenuous movement for the first 6 weeks that may place pressure on the recovering shoulder joint.

We are sure you will love the results of your shoulder reconstruction surgery and will be back to full function in no time. Most patients experience some difficulty with their range of motion and movement at first, but with physical therapy you will regain strength and flexibility.  Although there are small side effects, you will notice that immediately after your shoulder reconstruction surgery you will be relieved of those nagging pains that have been pestering you.

Come in today for your consultation with Doctor Schwartz at Webster Orthopedics.


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