Shoulder Replacement

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Indications for operation

Glenohumeral (shoulder) joint arthritis causing pain which has not responded to conservative treatment

Frequently Asked Questions

Anaesthetic

General Anaesthetic with an interscalene block (You will be fully asleep and a local anaesthetic injection into the side of the neck will numb the nerves to the shoulder for post-operative pain relief)

Operation type

Open

Incisions

An 8cm incision will be made in the front of the shoulder in the "deltopectoral groove". This runs from just below the clavicle "collar bone" straight down towards the axilla (armpit).

Procedure

The muscles over the front of the shoulder will be pulled to the side and the subscapularis muscle will be divided to allow access to the joint. The head of the humerus (arm bone) will be shaped and the bone prepared to receive the implant. The face of the glenoid (the body side of the joint) may also be prepared to receive a new surface.

The new shoulder joint will be inserted and fixed into place.

The tissues will be sewn back to their original positions.

A small vacuum drain may be inserted into the joint to allow any blood which collects after the operation to be removed.

There are several different types of shoulder replacement. The Arthrex Eclipse arthroplasty is used routinely by the partners.

Figure 1
The Arthrex Eclipse Shoulder arthroplasty
Figure 2
Figure 3

 Animation of the Arthrex Eclipse shoulder replacement technique

Wound Closure

A single long dissolving stitch under the skin and paper stitches over the top will be used to close the wound.

Dressings

Elastoplast dressings will be placed over the top of the paper stitches and an adhesive bandage over the top of this.

Immediate aftercare

You will wake up with a sling on the arm and your arm may feel numb for the rest of the day. There will be an IV line (a drip) in your other arm. A vacuum drain may be connected to your operated shoulder.

You will need to remain in hospital until the drain is removed and you are comfortable. A physiotherapist will see you and you will be given instructions on what to do next.

Further instructions for Shoulder Relacement rehabilitation