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Shoulder replacement is emerging as one of the most successful ways of curing degenerated shoulder joint, which may be due to prolonged joint disease, or any accidental damage. The procedure has been implemented by millions of people till date, and approximately 53000 candidates annually in the United States of America. The present record is however the witness of 5.6 times increase in shoulder replacement surgeries performed in the past two decades and the numbers are increasing every passing day.

The shoulder joint may get distorted due to several reasons. Often due to degenerative diseases or auto-immune disorders like arthritis, the bone disintegrates gradually which causes increased friction and thus, enhanced pain. Pain in the shoulder joint is extremely difficult to cope up with, especially in the progressed stages. It not only interferes with the daily activities but also restricts movement sometimes completely. Hence, in such cases where conventional methods seem to yield fruitful results, shoulder replacement surgery is highly recommended. In this procedure, the candidate’s glenohumeral joint or the shoulder joint is surgically removed and replaced with artificial joint or prosthetics. These prosthetics are not prone to degeneration and has years of longevity in the record. Hence, it not only helps in getting rid of the pain but also ensures comfortable movement of the arms without any discomfort in the long run.

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Before the Treatment

Shoulder replacement is a complex surgical procedure as it involves the engagement of several neurovascular structures, stabilizers (both dynamic as well as static), as well as muscles which need to be preserved during the procedure. However, shoulder arthroplasty is gaining grounds worldwide owing to the success and effectiveness in improving lifestyle. The two most common approaches towards shoulder replacement surgery are:

  • Deltopectoral approach: This approach uses the plane existing between the pectoralis major muscles and the deltoid. The procedure is highly implemented in case of fractures in the humerus, reconstruction surgery ( in case of instability) and various other reasons. 

  • Anterosuperior approach: Anterosuperior approach is one among the two approaches to shoulder replacement surgery. Unlike the deltopectoral way, in this method, the deltoid is scraped or removed from the acromion and further procedures are proceeded as needed. 

How it is Performed

Shoulder surgery is performed due to several reasons. Either case of damage repairs in and around the shoulder joint, or replacement surgeries, the procedure is pretty complex especially due to the presence of multiple neurovascular structures.

The candidate is first provided with general anesthesia to ensure that no pain is felt during the surgery. Henceforth, a small incision is made for the insertion of the arthroscope. The arthroscope is a device facilitated with a camera which helps the surgeon monitor the entire procedure. 

Multiple incisions preferably one to three, are made to insert other instruments to proceed further. These incisions are made to repair damage to the nerves, tissues, tendons, ligaments of the joint itself.

After successful completion of the shoulder surgery, the incisions are stitched properly to ensure efficient healing.


The recovery time needed after shoulder replacement surgery depends on the extent of the procedure performed. In general, most candidates recover after a period of six weeks. However, in cases that involve more complexities, recovery period may take more than six weeks and can also require months to attain complete functional ability.

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Shoulder Replacement