What is Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

For patients who suffer from a complex type of shoulder arthritis called “rotator cuff tear arthropathy,” those who have an irreparable large rotator cuff tear, or those who have undergone other shoulder replacement surgeries without success, a reverse total shoulder replacement may be considered.

Often considered as a last resort for patients, a reverse total shoulder replacement is a variation of the traditional shoulder replacement procedure. The surgery involves switching the position of the prosthetic socket and metal ball, attaching the metal ball to the shoulder bone, and the artificial socket to the upper arm bone.

Dr. Goldberg is calming and professional.

My shoulder replacement is fantastic. Played tennis after 10 weeks. Dr. Goldberg is calming and professional. – C.D.

I would have no hesitancy suggesting him to anyone with similar problems.

My experience with Dr. Goldberg has been wonderful. I felt totally informed of my problem and what would correct it. He did a great job on my shoulder replacement/reversal and today it feels excellent. The follow up with Dr. Goldberg and his staff has also been wonderful. I would have no hesitancy suggesting him to anyone with similar problems. – L.C.

Whole staff took top notch care of me!

GREAT DOCTOR!!!! Whole staff took top notch care of me! Would not hesitate to recommend Dr. Goldberg and his staff!!!! – G.D.


Who is a Good Candidate for Reverse Shoulder Replacement?

Not everyone with a rotator cuff injury or tear needs reverse shoulder surgery. In fact, only in the more extreme cases is a reverse shoulder replacement recommended.

The procedure is often performed for people with a massive rotator cuff tear who cannot rely on the rotator cuff muscles hardly at all for restoring a healthy range of motion. This is because by reversing the location of the artificial ball and socket joints, the shoulder joint is forced to use different muscles to move and position the arm.

This is why the best candidates for this joint replacement surgery are those who have severe damage to the rotator cuff tendons or who have had previous shoulder replacement surgery that wasn’t fully successful. In general, good candidates for shoulder replacements are in generally good health and have no underlying conditions that make them high-risk for this surgery.

How Can I Prevent Common Shoulder Injuries?

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Recovery from Reverse Shoulder Surgery

Reverse shoulder replacement surgery typically takes about one hour and is performed under general anesthesia. Patients can expect a short hospital stay. The arm will be immobilized in a sling for up to six weeks. Some pain, discomfort, and limited mobility should be expected for a few weeks after surgery.

Participation in physical therapy is important to help strengthen and restore the shoulder’s mobility following rotator cuff tears and shoulder surgery. Dr. Goldberg’s practice recommends a rehab protocol that encourages patients to perform specific exercises the first day after surgery and start physical therapy within a week of their operation. Implementing a rehab plan such as this enables patients to return more quickly to their daily activities.

Rotator Cuff Treatments in Naples, FL

When experience matters, contact Dr. Goldberg to assess and determine the best treatment options for your rotator cuff injury. He has performed over 2,000 shoulder arthroscopic procedures, making him one of the most experienced surgeons in the Southwest Florida area. Schedule an appointment by contacting us online or calling our office today!

How long does it take to recover from a reverse shoulder replacement?

Most people are able to start using the hand on the arm of the shoulder replacement one day after surgery and can start simple, functional activities immediately. Most people will be out of a sling in four to six weeks, be able to do most essential activities of daily living by six weeks, usually go to physical therapy for two months and can return to light sporting activities at three months. Recovery is induvial, case by case, and Dr. Goldberg works with his patients to create individualized recovery plans.

What is a reverse shoulder replacement?

A reverse shoulder replacement is a unique type of shoulder replacement where the ball or convex portion of the shoulder is placed where the socket side used to be and the socket is placed where the ball used to be. It changes the shoulder mechanics but compensates for the lack of proper functioning rotator cuff muscles. They have been growing in popularity in the United States since the early 2000s and now more reverse shoulder replacements are done than traditional shoulder replacements in the United States.

How long does a reverse shoulder replacement operation take?

The operation itself takes approximately one to one and a half hours in most cases. The majority of patients stay overnight in the hospital; however, in many cases, patients can go home the same day or have the procedure in an ambulatory surgery center and go home the same day.

Is reverse shoulder replacement right for me?

A reverse shoulder replacement is a specific type of shoulder replacement for people with severe shoulder arthritis and a severe injury to the rotator cuff. The benefit of the reverse replacement is that it does not require the rotator cuff muscles to be working properly, while still giving patients good mobility and stability of the shoulder. It's generally done in an older patient population, but often those patients will benefit from the additional support that a reverse replacement provides because the rotator cuff in that population is frequently injured or not functioning properly. Dr. Goldberg will discuss your individual needs and together, you will come to the decision of the right procedure for you based on different options. He encourages you to be an active participant in your care.

How painful is reverse shoulder replacement surgery?

Although shoulder replacement surgery traditionally has a reputation for being painful, protocols have improved with the use of regional anesthesia and other longer-acting medications. In general, patients only need prescription pain medication for three to five days after surgery, in most cases. The newer, less invasive types of surgeries generally allow patients to stop taking prescription medications sooner and in many cases, patients don't require prescription-strength medication at home at all. Some doctors, including Dr. Goldberg, have developed protocols that use no opioids after surgery for patients who are interested.

Should I have a traditional shoulder replacement or a reverse shoulder replacement?

Both types of shoulder replacements have proven to be beneficial, but the right procedure depends heavily on the individual patient and their specific needs. For example, what's a better car: a sports car or a pickup truck? It depends on what you're trying to do with it. If you need to run on bumpy roads and off the beaten path and carry a large load, the pickup truck would be a better choice. If you want fast, nimble and smooth handling, you want a sports car. A reverse replacement is usually for people that have more issues and need the additional stability compared to a traditional replacement, while also being willing to sacrifice some mobility and feeling. The traditional replacement is better for people who intend to return back to sports, are a little younger and want a more normal feeling shoulder. Dr. Goldberg works with each patient on a case-by-case basis to determine the best course of action for each individual issue.

How long is a hospital stay after shoulder replacement?

Depending on the patients' overall health, patients can either go home the same day or the next day. Staying in the hospital for more than one night is rarely required.