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A 44-year-old member asked:

when is a shoulder replacement 100% medically necessary?

3 doctor answers11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Coats II
Orthopedic Surgery 23 years experience
Never: The only thing that is 100% medically necessary is something that is life or limb saving. Everything else is about life style and function. If you have pain that you can't treat and poor function, then shoulder replacement is a good option. What you have to ask yourself is whether you can live with things the way they are now? In general, most patients are very happy with their joint replacements.
Dr. Christopher Piller
Orthopedic Surgery 27 years experience
Rarely: The only absolute indication for a partial or total shoulder replacement would be an unrepairable complex fracture of the upper part of the humerus bone (ball). Other indications are usually for end stage arthritis or a chronic, unrepairable rotator cuff tear that has resulted in severe pain and loss of function. Joint replacement in general is still usually an elective procedure and over 60y/o.
Dr. John Moor
Sports Medicine 38 years experience
Almost never: The 2 indications for shoulder replacement are cartilage destruction later causing secondary pain. Usually arthritis. Medically necessary surgery is to prevent risk to life or limb. Arthritis is neither. However a shoulder can progressively degenerate making a replacement more difficult in late stages of arthritis.
Dr. Bruce Prager
Sports Medicine 42 years experience
Shoulder replacement is indicated if the joint has severe degenerative changes that affect your activities of daily living. Also if the rotator cuff is completely torn and not repairable a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty may be a choice depending on your age.
Jan 7, 2013

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Bemus Point, NY
A 61-year-old male asked:

What alternatives are there for shoulder replacement?

5 doctor answers16 doctors weighed in
Dr. Nick Meyer
Orthopedic Surgery 24 years experience
Conservative Rx: Assuming one has arthritis in the shoulder, the options are: surgical (replacement) or non-surgical. The non-surgical treatments include antiinflammatory medications, steroid injections, pain medications, therapy and other alternative treatments such as chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, etc. Steroids and therapy tend to be the primary traditional non-operative treatments.
A 37-year-old member asked:

How complicated is shoulder replacement?

4 doctor answers12 doctors weighed in
Dr. Allen Lu
Dr. Allen Luanswered
Orthopedic Surgery 24 years experience
Not complicated: For shoulder surgeons, the procedure is very straightforward. It involves moving your muscles to the side, temporarily detaching a rotator cuff muscle, and accessing the shoulder joint. The head (ball part) is the removed and replaced with metal while the glenoid (socket part) is replaced by plastic. The rotator cuff muscle is reattached and the skin closed. It is a highly successful surgery!
A 38-year-old member asked:

How long does it take to recover after a shoulder replacement?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Coats II
Orthopedic Surgery 23 years experience
About 3-6 months: Total shoulder arthroplasty (tsa) replaces the shoulder ball and socket with metal and plastic. To expose the joint for replacement, one of the rotator cuff tendons (subscapularus) has to be detached from the humerus. It takes about 6 weeks for the tendon to heal to bone and motion is restricted during this healing time. Afterwards, therapy is needed to restore motion and strenght.
Dr. Brian Badman
Orthopedic Surgery 25 years experience
The average recovery is about 4-6 months with improvements seen for about 12 months post surgery. The results typically begin to plateau about month 9.
Feb 18, 2013
A 40-year-old member asked:

I need a shoulder replacement but will I be able to still do manual work?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Coats II
Orthopedic Surgery 23 years experience
Yes with limits: Like any joint replacement, a total shoulder arthroplasty (tsa) is a mechanical device. It will wear out with use, so you will want to protect the joint. Activities below shoulder height should be well tolerated. Overhead activity, especially lifting, will be limited. Tsa is a great pain relieving operation and the functional results are good. See a board certified orthopaedic surgeon.
Dr. Jeffrey Sider
Sports Medicine 39 years experience
I believe the procedure is mainly for pain relief and improved motion Doing heavy work is probably going to shorten the lifespan of the prosthesis
Aug 10, 2012
A 35-year-old member asked:

What should I expect for a partial shoulder replacement?

3 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Daniel Mass
Hand Surgery 46 years experience
Relief: Partial shoulder replacement provides good pain relief and subsequently better range of motion and function. P.

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