What Is the Difference Between Traditional and Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery?
In a traditional total shoulder replacement, the top of the humerus (arm bone) and the shoulder socket are removed and replaced with metal hardware to rebuild the shoulder. This method maintains the traditional ball-and-socket structure in their natural positions. A traditional total shoulder replacement is most effective when damage occurs in the shoulder joint, not in the surrounding muscles.
A reverse total shoulder replacement switches the functions of the shoulder through metal prosthetics. The top of the humerus is replaced with a socket and a rotator ball replaces the shoulder socket allowing the deltoid muscle to become responsible for supporting the shoulder.
What Is the Recovery Time and Results of a Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement?
Following surgery, your arm will be placed in a sling. You will need to stay in the hospital for two to three days while your physical therapist will begin teaching you movement exercises to help with recovery. During the first few weeks of recovery, you may need assistance dressing, bathing, and performing other normal, light activities. However, within two to three weeks, you will be able to remove the sling and begin resuming normal personal actions without help.
Physical therapy is a necessary component of the recovery process. Your treatment plan will be individualized to meet your recovery needs. In some cases, you may be able to complete your physical therapy at home with the instruction of your therapist. Functions such as reaching above the head may require extra healing time and will improve as physical therapy progresses. Typically, patients can expect to make a full recover four to six months following surgery.