Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

For patients with arthritic shoulder joints, anatomic total shoulder arthroplasty restores function in the impaired shoulder, which improves motion, stability, and strength by surgically replacing the impaired shoulder joint with prosthetic ball, stem, and socket components.

There are different types of shoulder replacements. The most common total shoulder replacement involves replacing arthritic joint surfaces with a highly polished metal ball, attached to a stem and a plastic socket. The surgery usually takes less than two hours, but depends on the condition of the patient's shoulder.

Surgeons at Emory Sports Medicine will make an incision into the shoulder to expose the joint space. Dissection is carried down to expose the humeral head. Precision-guided instruments will be used to prepare the bone to accept the implant. The metal ball and stem components are then inserted, and if the socket is to be resurfaced, the damaged surface will then be smoothed before the new plastic surface is inserted. If bone is in good condition, a non-cemented or press-fit humeral component can be used. If bone is too soft, the humeral component may be implanted with bone cement. The ball and socket are then joined (reduced). The shoulder joint and skin is then closed with sutures.