Total shoulder replacement is an alternative to shoulder fusion for patients who have severe arthritis or severe shoulder fractures where loss of the humeral head is guaranteed because of avascular necrosis. Shoulder motion will be largely limited to activities below overhead level unless the rotator cuff is unblemished and can remain attached to the humerus. Total shoulder replacement is an option to fusion.
This surgical procedure is suited for active people who agree not to hammer, use pneumatic tools and try to avoid any activity that might cause fracture in a normal shoulder due to a fall, such as unprotected roller blading or skate boarding.
Candidates are people with severe deterioration due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or the metabolic arthritides in one or both shoulders or in the non-dominant shoulder of someone who must perform extreme activities in his or her profession. In the case where one of the arthritic shoulders has been previously infected and is not a candidate for joint replacement, the uninfected shoulder may be replaced while the only option for the infected shoulder is fusion.