Seaside Surgery Center Blog

Sharing news of note and informative articles on joint conditions

Partial shoulder replacement

Partial shoulder replacement may be an option if you are experiencing shoulder pain. If only one portion of your shoulder joint has cartilage damage, replacing only that portion may relieve your pain and restore your shoulder’s functionality.

partial shoulder replacementTo understand partial shoulder replacement, let’s look at how the shoulder works. The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint. The head of the humerous (upper arm) bone is rounded, like a ball. It fits neatly into the shoulder’s natural socket, known as the glenoid bone. In a fully functioning shoulder, these two bones glide smoothly against each other because the ends of the bone are covered with a thin layer of tissue called cartilage. The cartilage cushions the bones, reducing friction. These structures allow the shoulder to rotate through a greater range of motion than any other joint in the body!

However, conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases can break down shoulder cartilage. They may develop in both the humeral head and glenoid bone, or just one of them. Ideally, you should opt to keep your own joints as long as possible. Therefore, if only a portion of the shoulder joint is affected, it makes sense to replace only that portion.

Your surgeon may recommend partial shoulder replacement surgery if:

  • You have severe pain that interferes with your daily activities, such as reaching into a cabinet, dressing or washing
  • You experience pain even while at rest
  • You have loss of motion and/or weakness in your shoulder
  • Non-surgical treatments such as anti-inflammatory medicines, cortisone injections, or physical therapy fail to improve your condition

Before recommending partial shoulder surgery, your orthopaedic surgeon will evaluate your condition using several methods:

  • Your medical history
  • A physical examination to assess your shoulder motion, stability, and strength
  • X-rays to help determine the extent of damage in your shoulder
  • Other tests such as blood tests, an MRI scan or a bone scan

If you are having your outpatient partial shoulder replacement procedure performed here at Seaside, you will be thoroughly prepared by our staff. For more information, you may find this article from the AAOS helpful.