Understanding the Basics Behind Shoulder Replacement
What is Shoulder Replacement?
Shoulder replacement is a viable option for those patients who have experienced significant trauma or who have severe degenerative changes associated with the bone and surrounding supportive structures of the shoulder.
Shoulder replacement surgery repairs and replaces the damaged joint, providing pain relief and mobility for patients.
The orthopedic shoulder experts at Kansas City Orthopedic alliance aim to provide the best surgical experiences for our patients—from the first appointment to final discharge from care. Regardless of the treatment you require, we are here every step of the way.
Shoulder injuries can manifest in a variety of painful ways, from a constant dull pain to sharp pain when you lift your arm in a certain way (also referred to as a “catching pain”). Other common symptoms of shoulder injuries include:
- Reduced movement or pain when moving your shoulder
- Shoulder or upper arm weakness
- Numb or tingling sensations in your arms
- Burning sensation in your shoulder or arms
- Completely immobile or “locked” joint
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms and have tried non-surgical treatments for alleviating those symptoms, a shoulder replacement in Kansas City might be your best treatment option.
Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance Shoulder Injuries Assessment
Assessing the Injury
Finding the right shoulder treatment in Kansas City starts with an assessment.
You can think of shoulder pain as a spectrum, with some instances being more severe than others. The KCOA orthopedic specialists always focus on each individual patient and their concerns before creating a treatment plan.
Therefore, during your initial appointment, we will often ask questions such as:
- Does your pain currently limit you or your activities?
- Has your pain progressed or worsened recently?
- Have you experienced any locking in your shoulder or an inability to rotate your arm?
- Have you noticed any change in your symptoms that has made it more challenging to function?
- What are your lifestyle goals?
- How has pain affected those goals?
From there, we can decide whether shoulder arthroscopy will align best with your needs and lifestyle goals. After a proper assessment, we often begin with a physical examination to help determine the origin point of your pain. In some cases, advanced testing may be required for a full diagnosis.
Also called radiographs, an X-ray captures a picture of the bones comprising the shoulder. Orthopedic physicians may order an X-ray to rule out the possibility of a fracture (broken bone), osteoarthritis, or other bone-related condition.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI captures images of muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons to help provide information other tests can’t detail. During an MRI, you will lie on a table that slides into a tube-shaped scanner. The machine creates a magnetic field around you, using pulsed radio waves to form the MRI images.
Electromyograms (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies
Our board-certified physiatrists utilize electromyograms (EMGs) and nerve conduction studies to help determine whether nerves and muscles respond properly to stimuli. The EMG measures the electrical activity of your muscles at rest and in motion, while nerve conduction studies determine how fast and effectively your nerves and muscles receive electrical signals.
Establishing a Care Plan
Based on the results of your interview, examination, and imaging studies, you can expect a custom care plan catered specifically to you.
Many people believe it’s best to wait until pain becomes severe, leading them to “put off” or delay treatments.
If you are in constant discomfort, have shooting or stabbing pains, have limited range of motion, or an inability to perform your daily activities, shoulder replacement may be necessary to return to normal function.
New technologies allow patients with shoulder pain to fully recover and enjoy the benefits of a more functional, pain-free lifestyle.
Prior to surgery, you will typically receive at least 2 phone calls:
- A hospital registration representative will call to gather insurance and other personal information.
- A registered nurse will call to review your health history and medication information.
Dependent on your health history, your physician may require:
- Pre-surgical laboratory tests
- Primary care clearance
Pre-operative instructions will vary depending on your physician and the location of your surgery.
Always check with your physician prior to surgery for their specific instructions.
Most physicians require patients to not eat or drink after midnight prior to surgery the next day.
Additionally, you will need a designated family member or friend to drive you home on the day you are released from the hospital. Surgical patients cannot drive themselves home.
Day of Surgery
If you schedule your surgery with a KCOA physician, you can expect the following on surgery day:
- A receptionist will check you in at the hospital registration desk.
- A nurse will take you back and prepare you for surgery. They will start an IV, prepare the surgical site, and review your medical history and medications.
- Your surgeon and anesthesiologist will visit with you prior to your operation.
- The surgical team will take you to the operation suite for surgery.
How it Works
A shoulder replacement, as the name implies, replaces all or part of the shoulder joint with an artificial prosthesis. This is traditionally designed to treat end-stage shoulder arthritis when the cartilage lining of the joint has eroded away or the supporting structures (ligaments, tendons, etc) have been damaged and are unable to function properly.
For a total shoulder replacement to work well, the patient needs to have good bone on the socket side of their joint as well as a functioning rotator cuff.
A traditional shoulder replacement surgery involves replacing the damaged humeral head (or ball part of the joint) with a ball made of metal, ceramic, or plastic materials. We also replace the glenoid (or joint socket) with a smooth plastic cup.
Depending on your condition, your surgeon may only replace the ball of the joint and leave the joint socket intact. This procedure is called a hemiarthroplasty, meaning the head of the humerus is replaced.
There are also reverse total shoulder replacements, which our surgeons use for patients with completely torn rotator cuffs, severe arm weakness, or previous shoulder replacements that failed. In this procedure, the surgeon switches the socket and metal ball.
This means the ball is attached to the shoulder bone and a plastic socket is attached to the upper arm bone. Patients can then use the deltoid muscle to lift their arm, rather than the damaged rotator cuff.
After a shoulder replacement in Kansas City with KCOA, patients can typically return home to recover.
It is important to follow post-operative guidelines from your doctor during this time.
Patients will likely return home with bandages and stitches or staples, which will be removed by your doctor a few weeks after surgery.
Your doctor will provide a prescription for pain medication to take, and your surgically repaired shoulder will be sore and possibly swollen for the next several months.
What to Expect
KCOA physicians will also recommend a physical therapist to help get the joint back to normal function. The more you work on physical therapy, the sooner your strength and function will return.
To prevent further injuries, it’s important to maintain good posture and ensure that your shoulder is in good position relative to your scapula. You should also focus on your core strength, and promote healthy mobility of the thoracic spine.
We recommend regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and monitoring your blood sugar levels if you’re diabetic.
In doing so, you may reduce the amount of stress on your joints to slow down any potential degenerative process.
Causes of Shoulder Pain
The body has different kinds of joints, and they all face different challenges. The shoulder is a “ball-in-socket” joint, meaning it’s composed of a ball-like structure that moves inside a depression in the bone to allow for rotational movements. The ball-shaped head of your humerus (upper arm bone) that fits into the glenoid cavity in the scapula (shoulder blade) creates the shoulder joint.
Shoulder pain that requires a replacement can come from a variety of sources that help compose the joint.
Surgery, even minimally invasive ones like shoulder arthroscopy, isn’t necessarily the first choice. Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance physicians prefer a more conservative approach to treatment, so we will typically exhaust all non-surgical options before recommending surgery. Non-surgical treatments for shoulder injuries include:
Physical Therapy – Movement can actually reduce pain and encourage healing in the shoulder, as movement increases circulation in the joint, supplying oxygen and other nutrients that support joint health and function.
Medications – Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil) or prescription medications. Especially with NSAIDs, you should always talk to your doctor to ensure they are the right treatment for you.
Injections – Cortisone injections can help reduce inflammation in the shoulder and can even provide additional insight into the cause of your shoulder pain. The amount of relief from an injection varies by patient, but often in combination with physical therapy, patients can experience significant improvements in their function.
Regenerative Medicines – Regenerative medicines like stem cell injections or platelet-rich plasma can help nourish worn or damaged tissue. This option works best if you have mild-to-moderate shoulder pain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Trust KCOA for the best shoulder replacement in Kansas City.
Our care is personal. Our team is knowledgeable. And we’re more available than ever.
With access to board-certified specialists across Kansas City, we have the tools to meet almost every musculoskeletal condition.
Overland Park, Kansas10777 Nall Ave Suite 300 Overland Park, KS 66211
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This place is amazing! I cannot say enough good things about our experience here! From the reception desk where they were beyond helpful and even made phone calls for me to my kids pediatrician to very short wait time then the patience and help of doctors and staff that were great with my 3 year old! Getting same day service this great was so nice! Love this place and highly recommend!!
Thank you, Dr. Koreckij and Dr. Winston!
I have received very good care from both Dr. Korekij and Dr. Winston. Dr. Koreckij did a partial hip replacement …then I fractured and dislocated my wrist… Both doctors were caring and professional, took the time to answer my questions, and explained procedures. My recovery wasn’t easy, but they made it possible. I’m even playing my piano again, almost as well as before.
Were able to fit us in last minute! Very helpful staff and knowledgeable provider. Very grateful for this practice!
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