It’s easy to take your shoulders for granted, until an injury or condition hampers their function, turning the simple act of waving hello into a painful affair. To restore full use to their shoulders, and alleviate the pain, approximately 53,000 people turn to shoulder replacement surgery each year in the United States. If you need shoulder replacement surgery, trust the capable hands of an orthopaedic surgeon, such as Dr. Diane S. Litke of L&W Orthopaedics. To learn more, call or use the online scheduling tool to book an appointment.

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Why do I need a shoulder replacement?

Your shoulder is a complex joint where three bones come together in a ball-and-socket configuration. Keeping these bones working together smoothly is an intricate system of soft tissue components that provide support, mobility, and cushioning between bones.

Over time, many of these components can fall prey to excessive wear and tear, injury, and arthritis, which causes:

  • Tears in your rotator cuff
  • Inflammation
  • Bursitis
  • Cartilage degeneration

Whatever the specific issue, you’re often left with pain and limited use of your shoulders.

To combat these problems, you’ve likely worked with Dr. Litke to resolve them through noninvasive methods, such as physical therapy, rest, and anti-inflammatory medications.

If your shoulder is nonresponsive to treatment, or simply beyond the capabilities of these less invasive techniques, shoulder replacement surgery is a great alternative that relieves your pain and restores your function.

What is a total shoulder replacement?

After a full evaluation, Dr. Litke comes up with a surgical plan based on your specific needs and goals. If a total replacement is called for, here’s how it works:

  • Dr. Litke removes the damaged cartilage and the top of your humerus
  • She inserts a metal stem with a ball into your humerus
  • She places a plastic device into your shoulder socket to receive the metal ball

Ultimately, Dr. Litke mimics the natural joint with a metal and plastic ball-and-socket joint that glides and functions smoothly.

What is a reverse shoulder replacement?

If you have a large rotator cuff tear and you’ve developed an arthritis called “cuff tear arthropathy,” Dr. Litke recommends a reverse shoulder replacement. During this procedure, Dr. Litke reverses the traditional set-up of the metal stem and ball and plastic socket: the socket is attached to your humerus while the metal ball is fixed to your shoulder socket.

This reversal works well if your rotator cuff muscles are severely compromised. Using the reversal technique, Dr. Litke taps your deltoid muscle to do the heavy lifting rather than your damaged rotator cuff.

If you want to wave goodbye to shoulder pain once and for all, call L&W Orthopaedics, or use theonline booking tool to schedule an appointment.