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Reverse total shoulder replacement offers alternative to conventional surgery

Shoulder weakness, pain and loss of shoulder strength are common symptoms of rotator cuff tendon tears or arthritis. At Baptist Health Louisville, surgeons perform a procedure called a reverse total shoulder replacement. The reverse total shoulder replacement procedure replaces the shoulder’s ball and socket joint, similar to hip and knee replacements. With the reverse total shoulder replacement, a metal ball is attached to the shoulder socket and a plastic “cup” is attached to the bone of the upper arm, allowing the larger muscles that surround the shoulder joint to elevate the arm, instead of the rotator cuff, as in a conventional shoulder replacement. This helps increase both function and strength. 

Normal shoulder anatomy is mimicked during a conventional shoulder replacement, which consists of replacing the bones with a metal ball and a combination plastic/metal socket. For patients with arthritis or rotator cuff tears, conventional total shoulder replacement may result in pain or limited range of motion. When the rotator cuff can’t be repaired, this surgery allows patients to regain lost strength and motion beyond traditional surgical options.

If treatment is needed as the result of a sports-related injury, look to Baptist Health Sports Medicine. Baptist’s multidisciplinary team of professionals provides total coverage across the continuum of care for sports-related injuries. The Baptist Health Sports Medicine team includes all sports medicine-trained primary care physicians, orthopedic surgeons, a neurologist, physical therapists and athletic trainers.

To find out if you are a candidate for reverse total shoulder replacement, or a physician referral, call the Baptist Health Physician Referral Service at (502) 897-8131.