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Replacing Your Shoulder in Reverse

PTD1214_Shoulder(1)In conventional shoulder replacement surgery, the surgeon fits a plastic cup into the shoulder socket and attaches a metal ball to the top of the upper arm bone. But for some patients, especially those with muscle damage around the shoulder or large rotator cuff tears who have developed a complex type of shoulder arthritis, conventional total shoulder replacement may result in pain and limited motion. For these patients, physicians are increasingly performing a new procedure called a reverse total shoulder replacement.
In this procedure, the socket and metal ball are switched. The surgeon attaches the rounded joint piece to the shoulder bone and uses the cup-shaped piece to replace the top of the upper arm bone. The reverse total shoulder allows the existing muscles of your shoulder to substitute for the damaged rotator cuff muscles. This procedure should lead to decreased pain and increased function.
If you have a reverse total shoulder replacement, you will likely leave the hospital within two to three days after the surgery. However, a full recovery takes several months. We can assist that recovery by prescribing a program of physical therapy exercises that will gradually increase your shoulder’s range of motion. Although every patient is different, the following is a typical recovery schedule:
• Immediately following surgery, activity should be very limited. During this initial period, you will use your other hand to assist in lifting your surgical arm and keep your shoulder flexible. We may instruct a family member how to assist you as you perform some exercises at home.
• Four to six weeks after surgery, you will start a regimen of exercise and stretching. This will include active use of the shoulder and vigorous stretching.
• Three months after surgery, you will begin to engage in more intensive strength training. This will ensure the most thorough recovery, giving you as much range of motion as possible.
While you should not engage in heavy lifting, we and your surgeon will encourage you to perform other activities such as walking, swimming, dancing and golf.
Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Wyckoff, NJ provides orthopedic and sports physical therapy services for the greater Ridgewood, Wyckoff, and Bergen County region. This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. The views expressed here are the author’s views and should be taken as suggestions. Always consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner before engaging in a physical therapy or rehabilitative program.

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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