Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

A solution for shoulder conditions previously considered untreatable, "reverse" shoulder arthroplasty allows the deltoid muscle to power the shoulder, by reversing the ball and socket configuration of the shoulder joint.

What kinds of patients need this procedure? Those with:

  • Completely torn rotator cuffs
  • Severe shoulder arthritis
  • Rotator cuff arthropathy
  • A history of failed shoulder replacement surgery

The "reverse" technique can be an excellent option for patients who have completely torn rotator cuffs and suffer from symptoms related to severe arthritis and/or rotator cuff tear arthropathy. It is also used for patients who have had a previous failed shoulder replacement. For patients such as these, a conventional total shoulder replacement can still leave them in pain and unable to lift their arm up past a 90-degree angle.

Another option in addition to Anatomic Total Shoulder Arthroplasty, "reverse" shoulder arthroplasty gives experienced Emory surgeons a viable technique to treat patients with conditions previously thought to have no solution.

First developed in Europe two decades ago and approved by the FDA in 2004, the main difference of the "reverse" total shoulder replacement has to do with the configuration of the socket and metal ball. They are switched, where the metal ball is attached to the shoulder bone and the plastic socket is attached to the humerus. This configuration adds stability so that the deltoid muscle can power the shoulder. After surgery, the patient will use the deltoid muscle instead of the torn rotator cuff to lift the arm away from the body.